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December trial set for commando accused of killing bomb-maker

Maj. Mathew Golsteyn, a former Army Special Forces soldier, leaves the Fort Bragg, N.C. courtroom facility on June 27, 2019, after an arraignment hearing where he entered a plea of not guilty in the killing of an unarmed Afghan national in 2010.

ANDREW CRAFT/THE FAYETTEVILLE OBSERVER/AP

By PAUL WOOLVERTON | The Fayetteville Observer, N.C. | Published: September 13, 2019

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (Tribune News Service) — The court-martial of Maj. Mathew Golsteyn, who the Army once heralded as a war hero but now is charged with a war crime, is set for Dec. 2 at the main courthouse on Fort Bragg, a military spokesman said Thursday.

Golsteyn is charged with murder in the death of an Afghan national named Rasoul in Afghanistan in February 2010 during the Battle of Marjah, one of the biggest engagements of the war. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in June.

Rasoul had been detained by American forces because he was suspected of having made a bomb that killed two Marines, according to media accounts. But he was released.

Golsteyn told the Washington Post in February that he was in an ambush position when he killed Rasoul. Even though Rasoul was unarmed, Golsteyn told the Post, he felt the killing was allowed under the rules of engagement because he believed that the direction Rasoul was walking showed that he was returning to resume insurgent activities.

At the time, Golsteyn was a captain with the 3rd Special Forces Group based at Fort Bragg.

The Battle of Marjah was intense. At one point in the fight, Golsteyn performed acts of heroism for which he was awarded the Silver Star in September 2011.

The Army began investigating the circumstances of Rasoul's death after Golstyen discussed it during an interview for a job with the Central Intelligence Agency.

As a result of the investigation, the Army rescinded the Silver Star and Golstyen's status as a Special Forces soldier. He was charged with murdering Rasoul late last year.

pwoolverton@fayobserver.com

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