Berlin moves to dismantle right-wing extremism in Special Forces

Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU) announced on Tuesday (30 June) that she would be dissolving one of the four units of the Special Forces Command (KSK) following reports of right-wing extremism within its ranks.

The following day (1 July), she issued what the German press is referring to as her final warning to the rest of the group, claiming she will not rule out further consequences if there are no internal reforms.

“We give the KSK time to press the reset button and reposition itself a bit,” she explained in Berlin, adding that “if they want to keep their KSK, this is the chance they have now.”

Right-wing extremism, however, is not the only issue in the KSK.

The report presented by Kramp-Karrenbauer also cited a “toxic leadership style”, as well as “lax handling of material and ammunition,” which has been the subject of prior concern in the country.

In May, Saxon police found an arms deposit at the home of a KSK soldier including 6,000 rounds of ammunition and 2 kilogrammes of highly explosive material. The report presented on Tuesday detailed the extent of the problem, as the unit does not know the whereabouts of 48,000 rounds of ammunition and 62 kilogrammes of explosives.

“There really is a potential threat that is building up behind it. We’re investigating it with everything we have,” said Bundeswehr Inspector General Eberhard Zorn. (Sarah Lawton | EURACTIV.de)

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