A Department of Defense investigation into the death of an Afghan commando includes evidence the man was tortured while in US custody and died hours later. Eight Green Berets received reprimands for their role in the soldier’s death.
On October 22, 2018, Wahidullah Khan opened fire on three Czech soldiers, killing Cpl. Tomáš Procházka and wounding two others. Khan, an Afghan commando, was suspected of infiltrating NATO’s training program and then carrying out an “insider attack.”
Khan was then arrested by Afghan forces and handed over to NATO – American and Czech – soldiers for questioning. Hours later, Khan was pronounced dead from blunt force trauma.
A Pentagon report obtained by the Military Times through FOIA reveals some of the details about the role of American soldiers in the man’s death. An Afghan translator alleges he witnessed serious torture committed at the hands of Green Berets.
The interrogation happened in a small room in the Shindand Air Base. Americans told investigators the location was selected to cut down on the number of witnesses.
Once inside the room, the Americans allowed Czech soldiers to question Khan. The translator said that he heard screams coming from inside the room. During this time, the Americans were able to access Khan’s phone.
After the Czech soldiers finished their questioning, the Americans and the translator entered. A Green Beret told the DoD’s investigators the point of the interrogation was to find out if “there were more people or threats waiting.”
The translator then claims he witnessed what amounts to torture. He said American soldiers ziptied the detainee’s hands, choked him, hit him in his crotch, slammed his head into objects, and brandished a knife while threatening to slit Khan’s throat.
He also reported the Americans witnessed a Czech soldier brutalizing Khan. The Czech soldier “started choking the shooter [Khan] and spitting on him, grabbing his hair, he yelled at the shooter and pounded on the desk,” the translator said.
The DoD report said after the interrogation, Khan was transferred to the custody of Afghan soldiers. A few hours later, he was brought to the hospital by Afghan soldiers without a pulse. American soldiers claim that Khan was unharmed by either US or Czech forces.
However, the US Army Criminal Investigation Division says Khan’s blood was found in the room used by American and Czech soldiers. “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 final CID report said.
The translator said several Americans instructed him to lie about what happened during the interrogation. Eight of the soldiers involved received writer reprimands.
Insider Attack or Blowback?
Initial reporting of Wahidullah Khan’s killing of a Czech soldier claimed he was a Taliban infiltrator who had carried out an insider attack.
During the 30-minutes Khan was investigated by Americans, Khan said he was feeling sick and went “crazy.” “Again we asked him who hired him to do this or why he did it and he insisted he just lost his mind,” said one Green Beret.
However, during the torture, Khan did discuss one event. He said that he had witnessed Americans killing three Afghan women in a mortar attack.
“He claimed that Americans make mistakes all the time when they kill innocent civilians and it was the same as his mistake,” a Green Beret remarked. “When asked to further elaborate on that comment he just kept referring to that he went crazy.”