Incident in Afghanistan shouldn’t shake the General Staff

 19. 08. 2019      category: Army of the Czech Republic

The event dated 22nd October 2018, after which the Army of the Czech Republic lost in Afghanistan a top-class dog-handler, Staff-Sergeant Tomáš Procházka, very shook the whole republic, including our army.  An Afghan soldier in training Vahidulláh Chán was suspected of gunning down the Czech dog-handler. Shortly after the event, he was held and subjected to several-hour interrogation by the Alliance units, including our soldiers. Consequently, according to the local authorities, Chán was handed-over back to the Afghanis in an unconscious state and later died in hospital, as domestic and abroad media informed.  Until quite recently, after more than half a year from the death of Tomáš Procházka, a quaternion of our soldiers was charged within this case by the Military Police with misprision of crime. How could this event impact the running of the Army of the Czech Republic and its highest representatives?

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Picture: Staff Chief Warrant Officer in memoriam Tomáš Procházka | army.cz

At first, it’s best neither to become hysterical nor to try striking a sensation. The event is regrettable and currently is a subject of investigation. According to information received, four soldiers are a subject of investigation. According to information of Respekt, Commander of the Special Forces Directorate General Pavel Kolář, his inferior Lieutenant-Colonel Hyťha, the Group 601 lawyer Tomáš Horký and a former member of this unit Peter Smik were charged. All of them were members of the commission that three days after the death of twenty-nine-old soldier Vahidulláh Chán arrived from the Czech Republic to check what had happened on the Afghan Shindand Base. The above-mentioned, reportedly, were trying to keep in confidence circumstances of the case from some superiors, the Minister of Defence and from other representation, which is responsible for such investigations by law.

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Picture: Peter Smik | Jana Deckerová, army.cz

“In connection with this checking, a prosecution of four persons for a delinquency of misprision of crime according to § 368 art. 1 of the Criminal Code was initiated. No other information, including information towards identity of the charged persons, is allowed to be disclosed with regards to the ongoing investigation,“ said the speaker of the Municipal State Prosecution in Prague Aleš Cimbala.

The accusations are serious, but they cannot shake trustfulness of the Army of the Czech Republic or its highest management. The army can’t afford oversteps in the actual state.  The biggest acquisitions of equipment in modern history are expected, and they require both firm command and splendid coordination of the both units, i.e. MoD and the army. What is more, the current highest representative of the Czech Army, General of Army Aleš Opata, enjoys much more respect than his predecessor Bečvář. It is an experienced warrior and even his tough talk after all prior incidents in Afghanistan surely can’t shake his actual position. The question is, however, whether it would be the same with new Senior Warrant Officer of the Czech Army Peter Smik and other charged persons.

 Author: Martin Šiška