TWO days after the burial of Sergeant-Major Daniel Kavuliak, 35, who was killed in Kandahar on July 9 in a so-called green-on-blue shooting, the uniformed Afghan soldier, termed a “terrorist infiltrator” by Defence Minister Martin Glváč, who had fired on NATO troops escaped from custody on July 14. According to Major-General Abdul Hamid, the commander of the Afghan National Army (ANA), the attacker was assisted by at least by one Afghan soldier in the escape. The latter was supposed to escort the detainee, who claimed to have health problems, to a military hospital, from which they both escaped, TASR wrote.
“We are not happy to learn this,” Slovak Ministry of Defence spokesperson Martina Balleková told TASR. “We believe that the culprit will soon be handed over to face justice.”
In a telephone conversation, Foreign Ministry state secretary Peter Burian told Abdul Wahab Arian, the charge d’affaires of the Afghan Embassy in Prague, which also serves Slovakia, that the Slovak government was disappointed over the suspect’s escape from detention. Burian asked the Afghan government to take all necessary measures to detain the attacker again and hand him over to the authorities, TASR reported.
“We insist on a thorough investigation of the whole attack, including its motives, and on due punishment for those behind the incident,” Burian said. “We believe that the Afghan government claims due responsibility for the security of the institutions and individuals providing assistance to the country by claiming responsibility for the security situation of the entire country.”
Ivo Samson, a security analyst with the Institute of Security and Defence Studies at the Defence Ministry, said that the Afghan regime is full of holes; it is unreliable and incapable of preventing the infiltration of terrorists into its army, he added.
“This is a serious warning about the future of Afghanistan with respect to the fact that all international troops are set to leave the country next year,” said Samson, adding that if Afghanistan cannot keep track of such fundamental issues as the infiltration of terrorists into its army, the security situation may deteriorate to that seen in 2001.
The recent incident has disrupted the fragile relationship between the Afghan government and its Western allies, with the mistrust possibly even deepening, Samson said.
The escape reopened the question of the professionalism and abilities of the Afghan army at a time when 100,000 soldiers who have been serving in Afghanistan within the ISAF mission are preparing to depart from the country, according to the SITA newswire.
However, ISAF has already expressed confidence that the Afghan authorities will recapture the escaped suspect.
“We fully trust our Afghan partners that they will investigate the case so that those who are guilty return to prison,” said ISAF spokesman Heinz Feldmann.
An Afghan citizen fired at the Slovak unit during a training session for members of the Afghan military, reportedly from a security tower at Kandahar’s civil airport. Official sources remained tight-lipped about the man’s identity. The attack at Kandahar airfield left another two Slovak servicemen with serious injuries and a further four with light injuries.
The death of Kavuliak, the 55th Slovak soldier to have died during foreign missions by Slovak troops since 1993, did not affect the determination of his compatriots to continue their mission in Afghanistan, according to media reports. The four soldiers with light injuries were offered transport back to Slovakia but refused.
The two seriously wounded soldiers were transported to the US airbase at Ramstein in Germany and immediately transferred to a US military hospital in Landstuhl on July 11.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry has sent his Slovak counterpart Miroslav Lajčák a condolence letter over the death of the Slovak soldier, which was the first among members of the Slovak Army in Afghanistan, TASR reported.
“Slovak soldiers displayed courage even in the most challenging regions of Afghanistan,” wrote Kerry. “That is also the reason why I'm glad to learn that your stance is clear and that Slovakia refuses to bow down to the forces of extremism – the United States fully shares this opinion.”
Kerry praised the determination of Slovakia to continue its participation in the ISAF mission as well as in the training, consulting and assistant mission under the header of NATO in the period after 2014, according to the letter.
22. Jul 2013 at 0:00 | Beata Balogová