ZAGREB, July 24, 2019 – Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Wednesday condemned an attack by a suicide bomber in Kabul in Afghanistan in which three Croatian troops were injured (one died later), saying the government would work on having them return to Croatia as soon as possible.
“On the government’s behalf, I regret the attack on the vehicle with HV (Croatian Army) members who are part of the Resolute Support mission, the NATO operation aimed at training, advising and supporting Afghan security forces,” Plenković said at a cabinet meeting.
One solider died from serious head injuries, one suffered a broken leg and the third a broken arm.
“We condemn the attack… Our HV officers are in contact with the families of the Croatian soldiers, who are receiving medical assistance,” Plenković said, adding that “such an attack with such consequences” had never occurred during the HV’s 16 years in Afghanistan, first as part of the ISAF mission and now as part of Resolute Support.
He recalled that 99 Croatian troops are currently in Afghanistan.
Speaking at a press conference earlier, Defence Minister Damir Krstičević said this was an isolated attack and that the rest of the Croatian contingent were safe, adding that he had talked about the incident with the president and the prime minister, and that the most important thing was to care for the injured soldiers.
“I’m sorry this happened… As defence minister, I’m ready to take political responsibility for this event. The Defence Ministry and the government will extend all the assistance possible. We are horrified by this event, we condemn this attack… The Croatian Army will continue to strongly fight for peace and stability in the world. All our soldiers in this operation participate as mentors and advisors,” Krstičević said.
Brigadier General Krešimir Tuškan said the injured soldiers were members of the UK-led Special Operation Advisory Group and that their job was to advise the management of the Afghan special police centre.
The three soldiers were driving in three vehicles from camp Hkaia to camp Lion. At 8.45 a.m. local time, 200 metres from camp Lion, a motorcycle driven by a suicide bomber, crashed into one of the Croatian vehicles which exploded and overturned, the Defence Ministry said.
Afghan forces were the first on the scene, followed by protection forces from camp Hkaia.
Afghan media said the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
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