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.
A Czech soldier who was seriously injured in a bomb attack in Afghanistan
will be brought home on a special flight next week, Czech Television
reported. The patient, who is suspected of having damage to his spinal
cord, is currently in an induced coma.
The soldier was among six Czechs caught up in a suicide bomb attack at the US Bagram Base in Afghanistan on Wednesday. Four others were also injured but they have all since been released from hospital.
A bomb attack in Eastern Afghanistan did not target Czech soldiers
specifically, but was part of a wider assault on a fleet of coalition
vehicles, the Czech general chief-of-staff Aleše Opata said at a press
conference on Thursday.
Five Czech soldiers were injured on Wednesday by a car bomb blast while patrolling near Bagram Air Base, the largest U.S. air base in Afghanistan.
Four members of the military personnel suffered minor injuries, while one of them was severely injured and had to undergo several operations. According to Mr Opata, the soldier is now in a stable condition.
In total, 346 Czech soldiers are now serving in Afghanistan as part of NATO’s 16,000 strong Resolute Support Mission.
Czech soldiers serving in NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan
will no longer be in the front line of patrols, deputy head of the Joint
Operation Centre Štefan Muránský told the daily Pravo.
The NATO command centre changed its strategy after three Czech soldiers were killed by a suicide bomber while patrolling an area near Bagram Military Base in August. In future patrols will be led Afghan soldiers who will be covered by NATO troops.