Army Plans To Charge Green Beret For Alleged Murder Of Taliban Bomb-Maker, Attorney Says


After more than two years of legal limbo, the Army plans to charge Special Forces Maj. Matthew Golsteyn with murder over the alleged shooting of a suspected Taliban bomb-maker, who Golsteyn believed had killed two Marines, his attorney Philip Stackhouse told Task & Purpose.

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

Golsteyn admitted during a polygraph test for a CIA interview that he had killed an unarmed Afghan man, whom a local tribal leader told him had built a bomb that killed two Marines, according to The Washington Post. The tribal leader told Golsteyn he was worried the alleged bomb maker would kill him in retaliation for being an informant if he were to be released, so Golsteyn took the man off base and shot him.

Golsteyn first buried the man but he and two soldiers subsequently unearthed the remains and burned them, The Post reported.

Special Forces Maj. Matthew Golsteyn holding his newborn son.Photo courtesy of Philip Stackhouse.

Stackhouse said the Army has not directly informed him as of yet that the service plans to prosecute Golsteyn. The San Diego-based civilian attorney did not specify exactly how he learned of the Army’s intentions.

Since a board of inquiry recommended in June 2015 that he receive a general discharge, Golsteyn has been on excess leave while awaiting a decision from the Army Review Board Agency about whether he will be separated or medically retired, per a separate medical board’s recommendation, Stackhouse explained.

Stackhouse said he did not know why the Army would decide to charge Golsteyn now because there is no new information in the case.

It is possible that the Army is retaliating against Golsteyn, who plans to file a federal lawsuit to force the service to decide whether to retire or separate him, the attorney added.

The Army’s Criminal Investigation Command initially did not find enough evidence to charge Golsteyn for the Feb. 28, 2010 incident, but the Army later re-opened its investigation after Golsteyn talked about killing the Afghan man during an interview on Fox News in October 2016, Stackhouse said.

“In that interview with Bret Baier, there wasn’t anything discussed that the Army didn’t already have in their possession,” Stackhouse said. “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.”

In the segment, Baer said Golsteyn was ordered to release the Afghan man “because of strict rules of engagement.”

When Baer asked Golsteyn if he had killed the suspected bomb maker, Golsteyn replied: “Yes.”

Golsteyn said the Taliban retaliated whenever detainees were released.

“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.

He also said that he and his peers did not feel their superiors were providing U.S. troops in Afghanistan with the support they needed.

“My part of the bargain is that I act in good faith,” Golsteyn said. “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.’”

A spokesman for U.S. Army Special Operations Command could not immediately respond to a request for comment from Task & Purpose.

Golsteyn issued a statement to Task & Purpose on Friday through his attorney: “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.”

The latest news about Golsteyn comes as Navy SEAL Chief Edward “Eddie” Gallagher stands accused of killing an unarmed ISIS fighter with a knife and other offenses. Separately, Navy SEALs Petty Officer Anthony E. DeDolph and Chief Petty Officer Adam C. Matthews along with two unnamed Marine Corps Special Operations Command Raiders have been charged with felony murder and other offenses for allegedly strangling Army Special Forces Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar in Mali.

SEE ALSO: ‘I Got Him With My Hunting Knife’: SEAL Allegedly Texted Photo Cradling ISIS Fighter’s Head


Photo illustration by Paul Szoldra

Navy Lt. Jonny Kim went viral last week when NASA announced that he and 10 other candidates (including six other service members) became the newest members of the agency's hallowed astronaut corps. A decorated Navy SEAL and graduate of Harvard Medical School, Kim in particular seems to have a penchant for achieving people's childhood dreams.

However, Kim shared with Task & Purpose that his motivation for living life the way he has stems not so much from starry-eyed ambition, but from the pain and loss he suffered both on the battlefields of Iraq and from childhood instability while growing up in Los Angeles. Kim tells his story in the following Q&A, which was lightly edited for length and clarity:

Read More

You can almost smell the gunpowder in the scene captured by a Marine photographer over the weekend, showing a Marine grunt firing a shotgun during non-lethal weapons training.

Read More

A Marine grunt stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is being considered for an award after he saved the lives of three people earlier this month from a fiery car crash.

Cpl. Scott McDonell, an infantry assaultman with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, was driving down Market Street in Wilmington in the early morning hours of Jan. 11 when he saw a car on fire after it had crashed into a tree. Inside were three victims aged 17, 20, and 20.

"It was a pretty mangled wreck," McDonell told ABC 15. "The passenger was hanging out of the window."

Read More

Todd Robinson's upcoming Vietnam War drama, The Last Full Measure, is a story of two battles: One takes place during an ambush in the jungles of Vietnam in 1966, while the other unfolds more than three decades later as the survivors fight to see one pararescueman's valor posthumously recognized.

Read More
Protesters and militia fighters gather to condemn air strikes on bases belonging to Hashd al-Shaabi (paramilitary forces), outside the main gate of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq December 31, 2019. (Reuters/Thaier al-Sudani)

With ISIS trying to reorganize itself into an insurgency, most attacks on U.S. and allied forces in Iraq are being carried out by Shiite militias, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, the deputy commander for operations and intelligence for U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria.

"In the time that I have been in Iraq, we've taken a couple of casualties from ISIS fighting on the ground, but most of the attacks have come from those Shia militia groups, who are launching rockets at our bases and frankly just trying to kill someone to make a point," Grynkewich said Wednesday at an event hosted by the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.

Read More