Czech soldiers killed in Afghanistan

Hospital at the Bagram militray base. Photo: Wikipedia
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Military confirms largest single loss of life in Czech peacekeeping mission; soldiers were giving writing utensils to children

Prague/Kabul, July 8 (ČTK) — Four Czech soldiers died in the blast of a bomb and another Czech soldier received serious injuries when patrolling the surroundings of the Bagram base in the Afghan province of Parwan at 05:15 CEST today, the Czech military general staff has confirmed.

The injured soldier was treated on the spot and then taken to the U.S. military hospital at Bagram.

The soldiers were aged between 28 and 39, the general staff said.

The blast also claimed the lives of 11 Afghan school children and two Afghan police, local media announced.

AP reported that it was a suicide attack, responsibility for which was claimed by Taliban.

This has been the biggest one-off loss of the Czech military in peacekeeping missions abroad and it brought the total of Czech soldiers killed in the country to nine.

The total number of Czech soldiers killed in military missions abroad since 1990 has risen to 24.

The Afghanistan Times news server, quoting the Bagram police chief, wrote that the suicide attacker set off the explosive when soldiers were distributing writing utensils to children.

Czech soldiers patrol by day and night an area within a 15- kilometres radius of the Bagram base, focusing on places from which the rebels shelled the base with missiles in the past.

A soldier of the Czech company was awarded for heroism in struggle by U.S. commander Mark Sherkey in June. He praised the whole company and its performance in the area.

The attack occurred at a time when the security in the country is worsening. Most NATO forces are preparing to leave Afghanistan after 12 years of fighting Taliban rebels.

The Czech Defence Ministry announced that minister Martin Stropnický has interrupted a short holiday abroad and is returning to Prague.

Updated with additional information

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