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Koehler ripped for linking Afghan war to German business interests

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Berlin, May 27, IRNA -- German President Horst Koehler has triggered a political row by saying his country's controversial military mission in Afghanistan was also geared at preserving Germany's global business interests, the weekly news magazine Der Spiegel said Thursday.

Koehler was quoted saying in an interview with the Deutschland radio station on the sidelines of his Afghanistan visit that Germany as an export-oriented country would also have to use military force to ensure the opening of vital trade routes throughout the world.

A prominent expert on the German constitution Ulrich Reuss stressed Koehler's disputed remarks smacked of economic imperialism, saying it reminded him of 19th century British imperialism.

This is the first time that a German political leader has openly linked the Afghan war to the country's global economic interests.

Germany's political elite have repeatedly said the Afghan military campaign was merely aimed at defending the nation's security.

Thousands of German troops have been deployed throughout the world since the 1990s, including Afghanistan, the Middle East, Horn of Africa and the Balkan region.



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