Germany is partially disbanding the elite KSK commando unit in a bid to root out the unit’s links to far-right extremism, the country’s defense minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has confirmed.
The decision was made three years after first suspicions linked to far-right extremism emerged in April 2017.
More specifically, the country is dissolving the 2nd Commando Company, in which the problems first emerged and were covered up by individuals in the unit. Back in 2017, unit members organized a farewell party for a departing commander with far-right songs and Nazi salutes.
Overall, some 70 KSK members will be affected by the measures, according to German media reports. During the upcoming restructuring process, KSK will be prohibited from taking part in exercises and international missions.
The government decision follows a detailed report compiled by Germany’s Military Counterintelligence Service (MAD) following a series of incidents, the latest occurring in May this year, when munition, explosives and weapons were found during a search of a KSK member’s house.
The MAD report revealed that 37.000 rounds of munition and 62 kg of explosives under KSK control are currently unaccounted for.
“An analysis of current events and right-wing extremist cases makes it clear that the KSK special forces command has become independent, at least in some areas, over the past few years, due to an unhealthy elitist understanding of individual leaders. This has led to the emergence of areas in the unit in which toxic leadership, extremist tendencies, and a lax approach to material and ammunition have developed that are in no way consistent with the applicable regulations of the Bundeswehr,” Kramp-Karrenbauer said.
The first evaluation of the reforms will occur on October 31, when the defense minister will decide on whether to proceed with the restructuring or to introduce additional measures. The defense minister has also indicated that the KSK in its current form could be completely shut down.