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.
Czech defence minister, Lubomír Metnar, revealed further details at a press conference held on Tuesday morning.
“Yesterday, around mid-day, an attack on one of our units took place at the Shindand base during which Corporal Tomáš Procházka was mortally wounded and two of his comrades injured. The wounded were given medical attention and transferred to the military hospital in Bagram.”
The attack took place within the military camp, which is divided into sections of various military contingents and the troops were therefore lightly defended. The Taliban has since claimed responsibility.
However, two Afghan officials quoted by the New York Times claim that an argument within the Afghan contingent took place just before the shooting and that the attacker may have been influenced by social media propaganda relating to last week’s assassination of Afghan police general Abdul Raziq, a revered figure among the country’s security forces.
The attacker opened fire with an M14 assault rifle from a distance of around 80–100 metres on a Czech vehicle that was returning from a routine mission, collecting building materials for the base.
The Chief of the General Staff, Aleš Opata, shed further light on the incident.
“This was an insider attack which did not specifically target Czech soldiers, but coalition forces. The attacker was not a member of one of the units that our own soldiers are mentoring. It should also be noted that Afghan forces immediately subdued the attacker.”
It is the third attack on Czech troops in the past three months, leaving a total of four dead and seven wounded. Czech units currently stationed in Afghanistan are primarily focused on training and mentoring the Afghan security forces.
Asked about whether there will be a state funeral for the fallen serviceman, the defence ministry said it will respect the wishes of his family.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš tweeted on Monday that he intends to discuss taking measures which would stop such attacks from taking place.
Mr. Metnar said he is taking the prime minister’s words very seriously, but reaffirmed the Czech Republic’s commitment to NATO’s ongoing Operation Resolute Support.
“We are not leaving Afghanistan, as our mission is not finished. We will go on. In recent times, the number of attacks has increased, partly due to the ongoing elections in Afghanistan. Every incident in Afghanistan is deeply analysed and countermeasures are taken.”
Corporal Procházka was a 42–year–old Cynologist, from the north Bohemian town of Hrádek nad Nisou. He was in Afghanistan on a six month long posting, which started in August.
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