Germany apologizes for bugging Afghan minister

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier phoned his Afghan counterpart Rangin Dadfar Spanta Saturday to apologize for the monitoring of another Afghan minister by the German foreign intelligence service, the BND.

Germany apologizes for bugging Afghan minister
In Kabul, Foreign Ministry spokesman Sultan Ahmad Baheen said: "The Afghan government is concerned about the reading of Mr Farhang's e-mails, and we hope that this action will not be repeated."

The spokesman described the monitoring as "an inappropriate act" and said a request had been made that it should not happen again.

A week ago, it was made known that the BND had spied on correspondence between Farhang and Susanne Koelbl, a journalist working for Der Spiegel news magazine.

BND President Ernst Uhrlau apologized to Koelbl for the activities of his agents.

In an article written before the Steinmeier-Spanta phone call and released Saturday ahead of publication, Der Spiegel reported that Spanta had in fact been outraged by the revelation.

"I am angry and repulsed by these methods that should not take place in a democracy," Spanta told the weekly.

He expressed shock that Germany, which he saw as a close ally, could take action of this kind.

The German Foreign Ministry said Steinmeier was still seeking to contact Farhang, who studied in Germany and speaks fluent German, personally to express his apologies.

On Friday, Chancellor Angela Merkel ordered an inquiry into the affair and that the officials concerned should be disciplined.

Three senior officials have been removed from their posts and Merkel had ordered an internal investigation, spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm said.

Last Mod: 27 Nisan 2008, 15:39
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