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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 April 2019

Trump to review case of soldier charged with murdering Afghan

Matt Golsteyn is accused of murdering a captured Taliban suspect in Afghanistan

President Donald Trump has said he will "review" the case of a US soldier charged with murdering an Afghan civilian. AP
President Donald Trump has said he will "review" the case of a US soldier charged with murdering an Afghan civilian. AP

US President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he will review the case of a soldier charged with premeditated murder for killing an alleged bomb-maker in Afghanistan.

"I will be reviewing the case of a 'US Military hero,' Maj Matt Golsteyn, who is charged with murder," Trump wrote on Twitter.

The president's tweet mentioned Fox News, the channel on which Golsteyn's attorney and his wife were interviewed about the issue earlier in the day.

US media reported that the soldier killed the suspected bomb-maker after he was detained in 2010, and that Golsteyn admitted to doing so both to the CIA in 2011 and on Fox in 2016.

The latter appearance prompted the military to open a new investigation after Golsteyn was previously cleared.

His attorney, Phillip Stackhouse, tweeted that Golsteyn is charged with "premeditated murder, a death penalty offense for allegedly killing a Taliban bomb-maker during combat operations in Marjah, Afghanistan."

A US military spokesperson confirmed the charge but said: "We are not at liberty to discuss details of an ongoing case or investigation to ensure the rights of the accused are protected."

Speaking on Fox, Mr Stackhouse on Sunday denied "a narrative... put out" by the military in which Golsteyn "released this Taliban bomb-maker, walked him back to the house... and assassinated him in his house."

As to why his client is being charged now, Mr Stackhouse said: "The prosecutor in this case has intimated to me that they have new evidence."

Golsteyn's wife Julie, also appearing on Fox, denied that her husband had "killed someone in cold blood" and said that "there are a lot of words flying around that make this very difficult for us as a family."

Golsteyn is due to report to Fort Bragg in North Carolina on Monday, she said.

The US has fought a grinding 17-year war against Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan – a bloody, destructive and expensive conflict for which there is no end in sight.

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Updated: December 17, 2018 08:32 AM

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