They did more than they had to. Military police honored 14 brave people who carried out evacuations from Kabul | iRADIO

Hours of work in the Afghan heat, shooting and negotiating with the Taliban. This is what the evacuation of the Czech embassy and Afghan collaborators from Kabul looked like a year ago. Fourteen military police officers from the KAMBA protection team and five employees of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and the Interior were recognized for their work last Wednesday by the Military Police. “My entire military career, me and the boys, have been preparing for crisis situations – and she came,” described unit captain Zdeněk Poul.



Prague
11:22 a.m September 5, 2022

Share on Facebook


Share on Twitter

Share on LinkedIn

Print

Copy the url address


Abbreviated address





Copy to clipboard

Close

“We left all the weapons at the base, and the one brave man who could at the moment went to the Taliban kingdom and tried to find someone there to negotiate with,” said the captain of the Kabul embassy’s security team, known by the acronym KAMBA. Zdeněk Poul a year ago, shortly after returning from Afghanistan, in an interview for Radiožurnál.

Listen to the full report on the awarding of the KAMBA Military Police team

“I chose the only three people sitting there wearing turbans. I figured it would probably be their commanders. When I showed them on the list that I needed this family, they came to the second check point and simply called the family,” described Poul.

It was he who negotiated with the Taliban, thanks to which it was possible to get a total of 130 Afghan collaborators of the Czech embassy and the army outside the airport gates.

Last Wednesday, exactly one year since the end of the twenty-year operation of coalition forces in Afghanistan, Zdeněk Poul and the 13 men he commanded in Kabul received an award from the Chief of the Military Police. In addition, five civilian employees of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and the Interior who participated in the evacuations from the Prague headquarters were awarded.

“For bravery beyond the scope of official duties, dedication, high professionalism and decisiveness in saving human lives,” was heard at the inauguration ceremony, which took place in the Czech Museum of Music in Prague, where the headquarters of the regional gendarmerie, i.e. the predecessor of the current Military Police, was located during the First Republic.


With a concealed pistol, he dealt with the Taliban to save people. ‘There was constant shooting,’ says the captain of the protection team

Read the article

Human dimension

The KAMBA Military Police unit was in charge of the security of the Czech embassy and ambassador in Kabul. However, when the Taliban entered the capital of Afghanistan in mid-August last year, Czech military police tried to protect Afghans, who could be retaliated against by the Taliban due to their cooperation with the Czechs.

“They took a risk with the fact that they wanted to save,” praised the work of the protection team of the Kabul embassy, ​​Minister of Defense Jana Černochová (ODS), who also attended the award ceremony.

“The human dimension is probably the strongest thing we take away from it. The fact that they did not care about their life and were willing and ready to put it on the line for the benefit of someone else who needed that help at that moment,” she pointed out.

“It’s such a satisfaction,” Zdeněk Poul commented on the award and immediately added that the evacuation was not up to him, but to the entire team of people he commanded.

“My entire military career, me and the boys, have been preparing for crisis situations – and such a situation came. We managed it perfectly.”

Monika Studená (left), Veronika Kuchyňová Šmigolová (center) and Markéta Kolz Hájková (right) from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs worked on evacuations from the headquarters in Prague. | Photo: René Volfík | Source: iROZHLAS.cz

“We are Czechs and we will manage,” Poul’s representative explains the success of the evacuation (name cannot be published for security reasons – note ed.). His task was to take Ambassador Jiří Baloun to the Kabul airport. Meanwhile, Poul and part of the unit were liquidating sensitive documents at the embassy.

Then they followed the others to the airport, where the first evacuation lists of Afghan collaborators arrived from Prague. They were created in Prague at the crisis staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


‘In Afghanistan, one never knows how long peace will last.’ What was the first year of Taliban rule like?

Read the article

“Long night crisis teams, great tension and then relief when everything went well come to mind,” says diplomat Veronika Kuchyňová Šmigolová, recalling the intense days of last August.

It was she and her team who collected the necessary information about the evacuees. They then negotiated with the Ministry of Defense how to contact these people and which flights to put them on.

“Our role was coordinating. Our task was to get the right people on the right flights, to be in the right place at the right time,” explains Šmigolová.

“Improvisation, stress, fatigue and then joy,” add other diplomats Markéta Kolz Hájková and Monika Studená. Eliška Žigová also sat with them on the crisis staff.

Step out of line

Military police officers nickname them “Winton girls” – referring to Nicolas Winton, who saved almost 700 mostly Jewish children from the Nazis from the occupied territory of Czechoslovakia. These women, together with one employee of the Ministry of the Interior, were also honored by the Military Police.

“Without them stepping out of line, there would be no one to save,” highlighted the Chief of the Military Police, Otakar Foltýn, who has been at its head since July 1 this year. “The way they made the relevant processes work at the last minute is the best example of what Nicolas Winton did,” Foltýn added, adding that the combination of military and civilian efforts was the basis of the rescue from Kabul.

Captain Zdeněk Poul, the protagonist of the story of the successful evacuation of the Kabul embassy. He commanded a team that managed to get 130 Afghan collaborators of the Czech Republic through Taliban checkpoints. | Photo: René Volfík | Source: iROZHLAS.cz

“What’s even more powerful is that the evacuation was made possible by people who didn’t have to do what they did. The system didn’t require it of them, and they decided almost against the system, rather than with its support. Those people did more than they had to because they sensed that now is the moment when they have to act,” highlighted Foltýn

At that time, the Czechia was among the first countries to evacuate its Afghan collaborators from Kabul, which was occupied by the Taliban. “I think then other nations started to learn from us because the Italians, I guess the Danes tried it,” Poul recalled.

Winton boys and girls

In addition to the Afghan collaborators and their families, the Czechs also got a high representative of the Afghan judiciary, lawyer Faheem, to safety.

“We were at the airport but couldn’t get to the gate so the first plane left without us. Suddenly, a hundred meters from us, the Taliban started building their checkpoints,” Faheem described earlier in an interview for iROZHLAS.cz how the situation looked in the crowd in front of the airport.


Afghan lawyer who helped catch Taliban: We wanted to fight, but then the president fled

Read the article

“I was stuck between a closed airport gate and the Taliban. Night was approaching, so I sent my wife and children home. The youngest son was only four days old.’

In the end, he and his wife and children got past the Taliban patrols. They spent two more nights at the airport before flying to Prague on the last Czech evacuation flight.

“Our boys and girls from Winton are true heroes for us and for the families of those rescued. They became them because they acted as a team and, in addition to their duties, they also did what they didn’t have to do,” Military Police spokeswoman Kateřina Mlýnková summarized at the ceremony.

The Czech military police team eventually rescued 130 Afghans who flew to the Czech Republic on two planes. The Czech army managed to evacuate another 40 co-workers and their family members from the country with a third military special vehicle. According to the government of the time, the Czechia evacuated everyone it wanted to save.

Jana Karasová, gut

Share on Facebook


Share on Twitter

Share on LinkedIn

Print

Copy the url address


Abbreviated address





Copy to clipboard

Close


The article is in Czech &&

Tags: Military police honored brave people carried evacuations Kabul iRADIO

PREV The government won’t let anyone down? But we can already see the falls, energy prices are liquidating
NEXT US Open | Alcaraz’s stunning triumph. Averted match point, won in the middle of the night