Czech troops abandon Bri Troops

John A Silkstone

Mi General
MI.Net Member
Jul 11, 2004
Czechs 'abandoned British soldiers during Afghan fight because it was too dangerous'

Czech troops abandoned British soldiers during fighting in Afghanistan because it was deemed "too dangerous", a Czech newspaper has claimed.

Members of the Czech Republic's elite Special Operations Group lost the trust of British forces after withdrawing from several operations because of the heavy fighting involved.

On one occasion when ordered to launch an attack by a British officer, the unit's commanding officer said "we're not going: it's dangerous", before ordering his men to their vehicles to drive back to base, the report claimed.

they provoked anger by refusing to take part in fighting, saying that too many of them were on leave.

After their experience with the Czechs, British commanders preferred to co-operate with a Danish contingent, the daily Mlada fronta Dnes claimed. It quoted one former member of the unit who said the "British and the Danes laughed at us contemptuously" as they left on combat operations.

"I find it hard to recover from the news I got about this unit," Vlasta Parkanova, Prague's defence minister, told the paper. She has launched an investigation into the unit's behaviour, saying that some of its personnel could be dismissed.

But Petr Krcmar, the unit's commanding officer, has claimed that the accusations are nothing more than an excuse to dissolve the group, which operated under British command during a tour of Afghanistan that ended last year.

The scandal, which has damaged the reputation of the Czech armed forces, reflects deep-seated problems within the Special Operations Group and its relationship with the defence ministry, the paper claimed. Some of its members have complained that they lacked clear rules for their Afghan deployment, explaining that on one occasion they refused to take part in a British operation because it apparently was at odds with their mission.

Others in the 35-strong unit have threatened to return decorations they won while serving in Logar province in eastern Afghanistan in protest.

The Czech defence ministry has also come under attack for its handling of the affair.

Intended for close-protection duties and hostage rescue, the Special Operations Group comes under the command of the defence ministry as opposed to the Czech army.

The issue with the Czechs has highlighted one of the problems coalition commanders face in Afghanistan. Along with having to cope with a broad coalition of forces drawn from a wide variety of nations, they have to contend with different countries using differing rules of engagement, with even Nato members using caveats in the coalition's regulations to limit the rules for their troops.

This also reflects the fact that some countries opt to avoid direct combat operations against Afghan rebels, preferring to use their forces for "nation building" operations.

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