D.he dispute over who is to blame for the foreign policy debacle in Afghanistan continues. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) told Spiegel magazine that the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) bears considerable responsibility due to its incorrect assessments of the local situation. “The BND has obviously made a wrong assessment of the situation, just like other services,” Maas told the magazine Spiegel. “The decisions that were made based on these erroneous reports were made to the best of our knowledge and belief. But the results were wrong, with catastrophic consequences. ”The SPD politician says that this cannot remain without consequences for the way the German intelligence services work. The secret services had assumed incorrect assessments of each other. “That has to change,” demanded Maas. “In the future, the findings of other services should be checked again very intensively.”
The former BND boss Gerhard Schindler had previously rejected any criticism of the intelligence service and complained about legal and bureaucratic hurdles that made the work difficult. “If you put one legal stone after the other in the way of the BND when it comes to obtaining information, you needn’t be surprised about suboptimal results in the evaluation,” Schindler told the Focus Online website on Thursday.
For example, according to Schindler, the BND is not allowed to “smuggle recruited informants into a terrorist organization because, under our legal system, it would be liable to prosecution for inciting or aiding and abetting”. But if the German foreign secret service is no longer allowed to infiltrate the inner circle of the Taliban through its own sources, it will not receive any important inside information.
Taliban protected by the Basic Law
A ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court last year even protected the Taliban by the German constitution. Because: “Article 10, which contains the so-called telecommunications secrecy, has since then applied to all people in this world, including foreign terrorists in Afghanistan.” .
In May 2020, the Federal Constitutional Court prohibited the BND from unjustified surveillance abroad. The Karlsruhe judges decided that telecommunications secrecy and freedom of the press had to be preserved there too.
BND wants to have warned again and again
According to a report, the Federal Intelligence Service has been warning the federal government of the collapse of the Afghan state for many years. The foreign intelligence service has repeatedly presented analyzes that neither the Afghan military nor the politicians are set up in such a way that they can function over the long term, the Spiegel reported on Thursday. However, the officials in the responsible ministries were hardly heard, the magazine reported, citing information from security circles.
Several employees who are familiar with the processes reported to the Spiegel about “sometimes frustrating moments”. The officials of the service gave their hitherto most negative assessment in December 2020 when they forecast the return of the Taliban to power under the catchphrase “Emirate 2.0”.
The BND and the federal government came under cross-party criticism for their poor preparation for the Taliban’s takeover of power. On Thursday, the secret service controllers of the Bundestag dealt with the issue. At the special session of the Parliamentary Control Committee (PKGr), representatives of the German secret services were asked to what extent the situation in Afghanistan was misjudged and how it came about.