The Czech Republic's Minister of Foreign Affairs Tomáš Petříček
visited Afghanistan this week, two months before the country's
presidential elections. The Social Democrat minister highlighted the need
for further peace talks in the country after a meeting with the Asian
state's government representatives. He also met with the Chief
Executive of the Islamic Republic Abdullah Abdullah, who is one of the men
currently running in the country's presidential elections.
The trip included a visit to Bagram Air Field, where Mr. Petříček met with Czech soldiers and praised their work.
Czech military police have taken four people into custody in connection
with the death of an Afghan commando and terror suspect beaten while in
NATO custody. A state prosecutor said they face charges for failing to
report a crime.
The Afghan commando, Wahidullah Khan, was accused of killing a Czech soldier in October 2018 in one of many insider attacks by Afghan forces on NATO troops last year.
He allegedly opened fire on a group of Czech soldiers at Shindand air base, a facility in Herat Province in western Afghanistan. That attack killed Cpl. Tomáš Procházka and wounded two other Czech soldiers.
At the time, Defence Minister Lubomir Metnar (for ANO) rejected that Czech soldiers were responsible for Khan’s death. The Defence Ministry has declined to comment on Thursday’s arrest of four people.
The Czech Republic currently has 345 soldiers in Afghanistan. So far, 14 Czech soldiers have been killed there.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has received a diplomatic note from Afghanistan
concerning the death of three Czech soldiers in the country a year ago, the
news site iRozhlas reported on Thursday. The three Czech service members
were killed by a suicide bomber while conducting a joint foot patrol with
U.S. and local soldiers in eastern Afghanistan in August.
The foreign ministry’s spokeswoman Zuzana Štíchová says the details of the note cannot be unveiled for reasons of confidentiality. According to iRozhlas, it is related to a retaliation attack by Czech and US soldiers on accomplices of the suicide bomber.
In the spring of 1989, the dissident Václav Havel was in prison and the Czechoslovak army was preparing for a possible clash with Western imperialists under the banner “With the Soviet Union forever.” A decade later, on March 12, 1999, President Havel presided over the Czech Republic’s entry into the NATO military alliance, embracing the collective security while noting it would not come without sacrifice.
American and Czech soldiers are under investigation in connection with the
death of an Afghan commando who was beaten while in NATO custody in western
Afghanistan, the New York Times reported on Monday.
The commando, Wahidullah Khan, was accused of killing a Czech soldier last month in one of four deadly insider attacks this year by Afghan forces on NATO troops. Jan Pejšek, a spokesman for the Czech Ministry of Defence, has confirmed the ongoing investigation, but strongly denied accusations that Czech troops were involved in Mr. Khan’s death.
On October 22, Khan opened fire on a group of Czech soldiers at Shindand air base, in western Afghanistan. The attack killed one Czech soldier and wounded two others. He was arrested by Afghan troops and was taken into custody by Western forces. By the time he was returned to Afghan forces, around midnight, he had been beaten and was unconscious, Afghan officials said.
The body of another Czech soldier killed in Afghanistan was laid to rest on
Wednesday. The funeral took place in his hometown, Prachatice, with full
Corp.Tomáš Procházka, who was 42 and specialised in dog training, was shot dead on October 22 while returning from a routine mission outside his base in Herat Province. Two other Czech soldiers were injured in the attack.
He was the fourth Czech soldier killed in Afghanistan this year. The first three died in a suicide bomb attack while on a patrol in early August.
Prime Minister and ANO party leader Andrej Babiš has ruled out the
withdrawal of Czech soldiers from Afghanistan. Speaking at a security
conference in Prague, Mr Babiš said that the Czech Republic won’t fail
its allies and will continue fulfil its obligations.
His words came in reaction to criticism of Czech participation in the
Afghani mission from some Czech parties following the death of several
Czech soldiers in the past few months.
Mr Babiš also said the country had committed to increase defence spending with a view to reach the equivalent of two percent of gross domestic product by the year 2024.
The fifth edition of the annual conference, called ‘Our security cannot be taken for granted,’ takes place at Prague Castle on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia. It is attended by top army and Defence Ministry representatives.
An Afghan soldier opened fire on a Czech military vehicle on Monday, killing one and injuring two more members of the Czech military mission in Afghanistan. The attack is just the latest incident that has claimed Czech soldiers’ lives and the prime minister has called for more effective countermeasures.
One of the five Czech soldiers injured in a suicide bomb blast in
Afghanistan last week is to be flown back to the Czech Republic for further
A spokesperson for the Czech Armed Forces said the soldier’s condition now enabled transport and the army would send out a special plane to bring him home.
He suffered serious injuries in the blast and has already undergone several operations.