German military partially dissolves commando unit over far-right links

Germany’s Defense Minister says she has ordered the partial dissolution of the elite KSK commando force, which has come under growing criticism over right-wing extremism in its ranks.

The KSK had “become partially independent” from the chain of command, with a “toxic leadership culture”, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer tells the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

That meant it “cannot continue to exist in its present form.”

One of the force’s four companies, where extremism was said to be the most rife, would be dissolved and not replaced, the minister said.

The elite commando force is charged with sensitive and risky missions such as hostage rescue operations or anti-terror action abroad.

But suspicions that some members harbor far-right extremist sympathies have plagued the force in recent years, even as Germany has been hit by a wave of extreme-right violence, including deadly attacks on migrants, Jewish people and politicians.

In April 2017, revelers at a farewell party for a KSK commander allegedly threw pig heads, played right-wing rock music and gave the Nazi salute.


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