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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » January 9, 2008
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Afghan Killings Probed
January 9, 2008   
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Military prosecutors in Poznań investigating the death of civilians shot last year by Polish troops in Afghanistan want to carry out technical tests at the village of Nangar Khel, the site of the killings. Eight people, including women and children, were killed, and three suffered permanent injuries in the incident Aug. 16 last year.

The Poznań prosecutor's office has ordered a technical assessment of the mortar and ammunition used by the soldiers after lawyers defending the Polish troops argued that the deaths may have been caused by faulty equipment. Experts will also assess the psychological state of the accused soldiers.

It is also possible that Col. Martin Schweitzer, the American commander of 4th international Brigade Combat Team in which the accused Polish soldiers served, will be questioned by a prosecutor in Afghanistan. When Polish Defense Minister Bogdan Klich visited Afghanistan, Schweitzer reportedly told him that he believed the Polish troops had made a mistake rather than committed a criminal act. He also reportedly said that the Americans were involved in two or three incidents of this type every month, while the Poles had been involved in only one during the 10 months of their Afghan mission.

In mid-November, seven Polish troops were arrested in connection with the Nangar Khel deaths. Six are accused of killing civilians and face from 12 years in jail to life imprisonment if convicted. The seventh is accused of attacking an undefended civilian target, a crime that carries a prison term of up to 25 years.
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