Green on Blue

Eight US Army Special Forces (SF) soldiers, members of the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) out of Eglin Air Force Base Florida, have been issued memoranda of reprimand in the 2018 death of an Afghan commando who perpetrated a Green on Blue attack which resulted in the death of a Coalition soldier.

For the uninitiated, a Green on Blue attack is how NATO describes attacks on NATO and Coalition forces in Afghanistan by Afghan security forces.

The camp heightened its security posture following the shooting. Jaguar 50, a call sign for the Special Forces team’s JTAC (a close air support specialist), spotted an individual crawling towards the camp with a satchel when helicopters came to evacuate the Czech casualties.

The individual with the satchel was closely observed but not fired upon.

Members of the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) proudly display the American flag in Afghanistan. Image courtesy of weareosd.org

Interrogation

The soldiers were accused of beating the prisoner to death, twisting his testicles, and slamming him against a breaker box as part of an interrogation. This is according to a civilian translator who testified as part of a long-term criminal investigation.

Building 458 at Camp Conde, where the questioning took place. Image taken from unclassified CID report on the incident made public by the Freedom of Information Act.

A member of the Afghan 4th Special Operation Kandak (SOK), Wahedullah Khan, was detained after firing on Czech special operators, killing one and wounding two others. Following his apprehension, Wahedullah was turned over to NATO forces and interrogated at Camp Conde by US and Coalition Forces.

A Need for Medical Attention

Several hours after his questioning, Wahedullah was released back to 4th Special Operations Kandak (SOK) soldiers and taken off-camp. Later, the 4th SOK contacted the Forward Surgical Team (FST) at Camp Conde and reported the combatant was in bad condition and urgently in need of medical attention.

4th SOK troops then transported the combatant to the FST, where he was treated for what appeared to be critical blunt force trauma injuries of unknown origin. Despite the medical team’s best efforts, the combatant succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at 0001, 23 Oct 18.

The soldiers involved in the interrogation were investigated by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command (CID) for conspiracy, obstruction of justice, aggravated assault, voluntary manslaughter, and murder.

You can read the official report on the matter here on this redacted CID case file obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by reporter Kyle Remper at the Army Times who broke the story.

Special Forces soldiers denied harming Wahedullah, claiming that his fellow Afghan commandos killed him. However, CID found blood in the interrogation room that suggested a scenario possibly different from the one being offered by the soldiers.

Criminal Investigation Division Final Report

CID stated in their final report:

“The room appeared to have been cleaned; however, blood spatter was identified on the walls and ceiling. A laboratory analysis of the blood spatter revealed the blood matched the DNA profile of Mr. Wahedullah.”

The case was closed in May 2021, and all evidence was given to the 1st Special Forces Command to decide on the consequences.

Major Dan Lessard, a spokesman for the 1st Special Forces Command, issued a statement about the matter:

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“In this case, the investigation’s results did not present sufficient evidence of misconduct beyond a reasonable doubt for any of the offenses, which is the standard required to obtain a conviction at court-martial. Furthermore, there was not probable cause to believe that the most serious alleged offenses, including murder, had occurred.”

General officer memorandums of reprimand (GOMOR) were issued to the Green Berets. Six of the eight letters were permanently filed. This could cause a bar on their reenlistment or promotion. The other two letters were filed locally and kept within the command. A locally filed GOMOR will be destroyed after three years or upon a change of unit or places of assignment.

Handling of the Combatant by Other Militaries

It was not only US Special Forces involved in the interrogation of the combatant. Wahedullah was interrogated by troops from three different nation’s militaries over the course of 10 hours. Reports say that his blood was located in the same room where both the Americans and Czechs questioned him.

Czech armed forces have charged four soldiers with their part in the combatant’s death. Two were charged with using violence and disobeying orders, while the other two were charged with failure to render aid and assistance and violations of service rules.

Czech radio reported that Wahedullah was not injured before being interrogated by Czech soldiers but “showed signs of being brutally beaten when he was later handed over to US troops.”