Charges dropped against soldiers suspected of inadequate investigation of alleged Afghan killer’s death

Misión en Afganistán, foto: archivo Ejército Checo

Charges have been dropped against four Czech Army officers in connection with the mysterious death of an Afghan, the news site Ekonomický Deník reported. The individual concerned, Wahidullah Khan, seems to have been responsible for shooting Czech dead soldier Tomáš Procházka in Shindand, Afghanistan last year.

Illustrative photo: Czech Army
In October last year an Afghan member of his country’s regular armed forces opened fire on a Czech military vehicle in Shindand, killing Tomáš Procházka and injuring two more members of the Czech military mission.

Afghan commando Wahidullah Khan was arrested just hours after the attack by Afghan forces and handed over to Western soldiers for questioning and he was interrogated by Czech and later American troops.

However, shortly after Mr. Khan was returned to Afghan custody he died in hospital, with local officials stating that the commando had been beaten and was unconscious by the time he was returned to them.

An investigation was opened into the circumstances of Mr. Khan’s death by Czech military police earlier this year.

This week the news site Ekonomický Deník reported that four army general staff officers have been cleared of charges that they failed to investigate the matter sufficiently and also withheld information relating to the death of Mr. Khan.

The lawyer who represented the officers, Radek Ondruš, confirmed the information to Czech Radio.

“The matter was returned to the military police and is in the verification phase. That means the complete beginning. The state prosecutor reproached the military police for the case being premature, unreviewable and unsubstantiated. It was fragmentary, lacked specifics and backup materials.”

Respekt magazine journalist Jaroslav Spurný, who has been following the case closely, says the case is divided into two parts.

Tomáš Procházka,  photo: archive of Czech Army
“There are four soldiers who are being investigated directly for possible involvement in the death of Mr. Khan. However, these have not faced any charges yet. There we are waiting for an official international legal assistance report from the United States.

“Then there are these other four soldiers, who did face charges which have now been dropped.”

These four officers were sent to Afghanistan to look into the circumstances of Mr. Khan’s death, but are under suspicion that they did not do everything they were supposed to on their mission and did not share all necessary information.

Mr. Spurný nevertheless said that he agrees with the attorney that the charges were not well prepared.

Following the intervention of the Czech military police there was speculation in army circles that there may have been more individuals accused of a misdemeanour surrounding the case of Mr. Khan's death. However, the military police has not disclosed any more information.