Afghan refugee in Germany accused of killing US soldier in 2014
By MARCUS KLOECKNER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 1, 2017
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — A 20-year-old Afghan asylum-seeker has been charged with the murder of a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan, Germany’s federal prosecutor’s office said.
The man, identified only as Abdol Moghada S., was also charged with the attempted murder of two more American soldiers who were wounded in the same ambush in early 2014, the prosecutor’s office said Friday.
It charged that the accused joined the Taliban, “a “foreign terrorist group,” in 2013 in the Baraki Barak district of eastern Logar province. At the time, he was issued with a Kalashnikov automatic rifle, a Russian Tokarev pistol and several hand grenades.
He allegedly used these weapons in attacks on foreign military convoys in 2013 and 2014. A U.S. soldier was killed and two were wounded during the latter ambush, the prosecutor’s office said.
The prosecutor’s office didn’t identify the soldiers, but the only U.S. servicemember killed about that time in Baraki Barak was Pfc. Christian J. Chandler, 20, of Trenton, Texas. He was killed April 28, 2014, when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire, according to a Pentagon statement. He was assigned to the Fort Drum, N.Y.-based 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light).
S. was arrested in February and is being held in detention awaiting trial. It was not clear whether he could be tried under German law as an adult. The incidents occurred while he was still a juvenile.
The prosecutor’s office did not immediately return a call for comment on Tuesday.
According to local media reports, S. fled Afghanistan in 2015, passing through Iran and Turkey and arriving in Bavaria at the end of that year. While staying at a refugee camp in Schnaitsee, about 40 miles east of the Bavarian capital of Munich, he sought political asylum, claiming he was in danger because he had deserted from the Taliban.
S. was reported to be “well-integrated” in the community, had learned the German language and was about to start on-the-job training to become an electrician.
Sueddeutsche Zeitung, a national daily, quoted Wolfgang Bachleitner, a member of a refugee support group from Schnaitsee, as saying S. showed “great engagement” in helping other refugees with his translation skills.
Stars and Stripes reporter Chad Garland contributed to this report.