Two Years since Three Czech Soldiers Have Died in Afghanistan
Today we commemorate another very sad anniversary, when a suicide bomb attack was committed on the morning of August 5, 2018, in the Afghan city of Charikar, targeted at Allied soldiers during their infantry patrol. Three Czech soldiers were killed in the attack of a suicide bomber, and three other soldiers (two Afghans and one American) were wounded. The soldiers killed belonged to the 42nd Mechanized Battalion of the 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade in Tábor. The incident took place around 3:50 Czech time during a patrol around the Bagram base.
At that time, the infantry patrol carried out regular activities in the designated area. As a result of the explosion, three Czech soldiers, Staff Sergeant Martin Marcin (1982), Corporal Kamil Beneš (1990) and Corporal Patrik Štěpánek (1993), suffered fatal injuries.
Unfortunately, the above-mentioned bombing, which claimed the lives of our soldiers, was not an isolated matter. In 2014, four Czech soldiers died in Afghanistan during a patrol in the field. Another of our soldiers was severely wounded at the time and died after returning home in a Czech hospital. It happened after an explosion caused by a suicide bomber in an Afghan police uniform.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is leading a non-combat mission in Afghanistan, called Resolute Support. NATO troops are not conducting combat operations in the country, but they are supporting Afghan security forces. The Czech army now has a mandate of 250 soldiers in the country, operating in Kabul and at the Bagram base.
Honouring the memory of our fallen soldiers in the Czech Republic
To honour the fallen soldiers, sirens sounded all over the country on Wednesday at noon, and at the time of the landing of the plane at Prague's Ruzyne airport, the bells of Prague's churches rang. Gripen aircraft accompanied the plane with the remains of our heroes over the Czech Republic.
A huge wave of solidarity
President Miloš Zeman, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and other politicians expressed their condolences to the families of the fallen. The bodies of the fallen soldiers of Staff Sergeant Martin Marcin (*14 February 1982, † at the age of 36), Corporal Kamil Beneš (*17 January 1990, † at the age of 28) and Corporal Patrik Štěpánek (*14 September 1993, † at the age of 25) were transferred to the Czech Republic on Wednesday, August 8, 2018. People all over the country expressed their compassion and sincere condolences not only on social networks, but also in person to the families or during the funeral procession that led through Evropská třída and Vítězné náměstí.
Video: Arrival of our fallen soldiers to the homeland / YouTube
The Minister of Defence promoted the fallen soldiers in memoriam to the rank of Master Warrant Officers. In honour of the fallen soldiers, alarm sirens sounded for 140 seconds on Wednesday, August 8, 2018 at 12:00. On October 28, 2018, the fallen soldiers were awarded the Medal of Heroism in memoriam.