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Army to charge Green Beret with 2010 murder of Taliban bomb maker

The panel listens to their instructions during the 167th Theater Sustainment Command's 4th annual mock court martial, Aug. 7-8, 2018, at the Calhoun County Courthouse, Anniston, Alabama. (Sgt. Jeremy Dunkle/Army National Guard)
November 27, 2018

A Green Beret, who admitted to killing an assumed Taliban bomb-maker, will be charged with murder by the U.S. Army after a two-year lull.

Special Forces Maj. Matthew Golsteyn admitted during a polygraph test that he shot and killed the suspected Taliban bomb maker on Feb. 28, 2010, after he was informed that the man concocted an explosive that killed two Marines, according to Task & Purpose.

The informant was a tribal leader and he expressed to Golsteyn that he feared for his life if the bomb maker discovered that he was the source of information.

Golsteyn made the suspected bomb maker leave the base, and then killed him.

Golsteyn buried the body and later, two other soldiers helped him dig it up and burn it.

His lawyer, Philip Stackhouse said, “I’ve just heard through some colleagues that they are firing up to charge Matt in a court-martial now. We’re hearing that they are going to charge him in the near future.”

In June 2015, Golsteyn received a general discharge. Since then, he has been awaiting word from the Army Review Board Agency to determine whether the medical board will recommend that he be deemed separated or medically retired.

Golsteyn has plans to sue the Army to force them to make a decision.

Since there is no new information on this case, Golsteyn’s attorney said he is unsure why charges would come now unless they are doing it to strike back his client.

The Army’s Criminal Investigation Command previously lacked evidence to charge Golsteyn and closed the investigation. It remained closed until Golsteyn appeared on Fox News in Oct. 2016 and told them about killing the bomb maker.

During the interview, Brett Baer asked Golsteyn if he had killed the suspected bomb maker and Golsteyn replied, “Yes.”

“It is an inevitable outcome that people who are cooperating with the coalition forces, when identified, will suffer some terrible torture or be killed,” Golsteyn said.

“My part of the bargain is that I act in good faith. I’m upholding the trust invested in me to take into account my mission, the rules — in the context I’m trying to apply them in — and do that to the best of my ability. Their part of the bargain is that: You don’t come in after the fact — with different information, knowing the outcome – and say, ‘Eh, we didn’t like it,’” he added.

Speaking on behalf of himself and his peers, Golsteyn said they were not getting adequate support from their superiors while in Afghanistan.

Stackhouse said, “In that interview with Bret Baier, there wasn’t anything discussed that the Army didn’t already have in their possession. I think if you go back and watch that interview, Matt was somewhat critical of the current leadership that was prosecuting the war. But as far as what’s contained in that interview, there’s nothing that the prosecutors didn’t have and present at the board of inquiry.”

Golsteyn issued a statement on Friday through his attorney, that said, “The investigation into my actions began over seven years ago when the Army saw I intended to resign for an opportunity to work for a government agency. After four years of investigation, it resulted in the Army seeking to administratively separate me. For over two years now the decision to separate me or retire me has been pending in Washington, D.C. During those years, the Army allowed me to move on, begin a new career, and start a new family. If it’s true they now want to prosecute me for allegations that have already been resolved — this vindictive abuse of power must know no limit. My hope is that Army leadership will stop this vindictive plan and effect the retirement that is pending.”