Nangar Khel incident

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Nangar Khel incident
LocationNangar Khel, Paktika Province, Afghanistan
DateAugust 16, 2007
Attack type
Mortar Strike
PerpetratorsPolish soldiers

The Nangar Khel incident, sometimes called the Nangar Khel massacre, took place in the Afghan village of Nangar Khel (Paktika Province) on August 16, 2007. A few hours after an insurgent IED ambush which damaged Polish wheeled armored vehicle (KTO Rosomak), a patrol of Polish soldiers from the elite 18th Airborne-Assault Battalion taking part in the International Security Assistance Force opened heavy machine gun and 60 mm mortar fire at the area of the village. The attack resulted in the deaths of six civilians, including a pregnant woman and three children, and seriously injured three other women.[1][2]


According to the military report D9 161030z of the Afghan War Diary, the patrol fired 26 mortar rounds, of which three landed in a compound where a wedding celebration was taking place.[3] The villagers stated that there was no shooting coming from the village when the mortars were fired there,[4] while the Polish soldiers stated that they had fired a machine gun at four people near the village, who in turn fired back.[3] The villagers stated that the Polish soldiers should have come to the village to ask for information regarding Taliban fighters planting of IEDs, since the villagers were opposed to Talibs' operations near their village.[4]

That evening and the following day, the Provincial Reconstruction Team and Polish soldiers planned "consequence management", including contact with the villagers, gifts of food and supplies, the purchase of a goat for the villagers as a goodwill gesture, and regular visits to the village in order to build "trust and rapport with the villagers".[4][5] Families of the victims were later paid compensation, while the injured Afghans were flown to be treated for their wounds in a hospital in Poland.

In result of the action eight innocent civilians including a pregnant women and children were killed. Aleksander Szczyglo - Defense Minister in 2008 - tried to avoid giving an answer to a journalist when he was asked about incident and called accused soldiers a "group of idiots who shot at civilians."[6]


On July 6, 2008, prosecutors ended the investigation and sent an indictment against seven soldiers of the Charlie combat team (two officers, two non-commissioned officers and three privates) to Warsaw's Military District Court, accusing them of committing a war crime of unlawfully targeting civilians in a reprisal.[7] Captain Olgierd C. and his men all said they were innocent. Six of them (accused of killing civilians), if found guilty, would face a penalty of 12 to 25 years in prison to even life imprisonment, while another one (accused of opening fire on an unarmed target) faced up to 25 years in prison. According to a spokesperson for the Court, "It's a unique trial, not only in Poland but also in Europe or even in the world." Nevertheless, the case was given little attention in foreign media.

The trial began in February 2009. In May, Polish Minister of Defense Bogdan Klich gave testimony in which he called the incident "a mistake", citing the opinion of the commander of the U.S. forces in the area. The soldiers have also gained support from many military officers and celebrities, including General Sławomir Petelicki, the founder and first commander of the Polish special forces unit GROM. On June 1, 2011, the Warsaw District Court acquitted all seven soldiers for lack of evidence of deliberate killing. The court described the case as unprecedented in the history of the Polish military and judiciary. The prosecution has the right of appeal against the verdict.[8][9]


Poland's highest court opened a new trial for seven Polish soldiers in 2012. Prosecutors said that they are convinced that war crimes were committed. The first ruling "should not stand," prosecutor Jan Zak said.[10]

In 2013 the trial was still in court, especially the cases of ppor. (lower OF-1 Nato code rank) Bywalec, chor. (OR-8 Nato code) Andrzej Osiecki, plut. rezerwy (OR-4 higher, but reserve status - "rezerwy") Tomasz Borysiewicz and Ligocki, were sent to be examined by the Supreme Court, because there were doubts about their "innocent" status.[11] Re-trial ended on March 19th, 2015.

In February 2016 the Military Chamber of the Supreme Court in Warsaw (Poland) stated that they did not commit a war crime, but were guilty of negligently carrying out orders. The ruling upheld the decision of a military court from March 2015. Three Polish soldiers were given suspended jail sentences, while the case of one was conditionally discontinued.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sputnik. "Polish prosecutor demands 12 years for Polish soldiers in Afghan war crimes case". Archived from the original on 2012-03-04. Retrieved 2011-05-26.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-08-17. Retrieved 2012-03-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ a b "D9 161030z TF White Eagle SIR on mortar landing in a village vic Wazi Khwa". Afghan War Diary. WikiLeaks. 2010-07-25. Archived from the original on 2010-07-30. Retrieved 2010-07-30.
  4. ^ a b c "171635Z PRT Sharana Daily Report". Afghan War Diary. WikiLeaks. 2010-07-25. Archived from the original on 2010-07-30. Retrieved 2010-07-30.
  5. ^ "161650Z PRT Sharana Daily Report". Afghan War Diary. WikiLeaks. 2010-07-25. Archived from the original on 2010-07-30. Retrieved 2010-07-30.
  6. ^,191030.html?playlist_id=31421
  7. ^ Polish soldiers face trial for killing Afghan civilians[dead link]
  8. ^ "Siedmiu oskarżonych ws. Nangar Khel - uniewinnionych" (in Polish). PAP. 2011-06-01. Archived from the original on 2013-04-16. Retrieved 2011-06-01.
  9. ^ "Polish court acquits 7 soldiers over Afghan deaths". Reuters. 2011-06-01. Archived from the original on 2011-06-10. Retrieved 2011-06-01.
  10. ^ "Poland retries soldiers in 2007 deaths of Afghans". CBS News. Archived from the original on 2012-03-07. Retrieved 2012-03-07.
  11. ^ S.A., Wirtualna Polska Media. "Wiadomości z kraju i ze świata – wszystko co ważne – WP". Archived from the original on 2013-11-01. Retrieved 2013-07-09.

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