The Army has charged Special Forces Maj. Matthew Golsteyn with murder for allegedly shooting a suspected Taliban bomb-maker in 2010.
This comes more than two years after Golsteyn admitted during an interview with Fox News that he killed the Afghan man because he feared the suspected bomb-maker would murder an Afghan tribal leader if released.
Golsteyn has been recalled to active-duty after being placed on excess leave following a board of inquiry’s June 2015 recommendation that he receive a general discharge, said US Army Special Operations Command spokesman Lt. Col. Loren Bymer.
“Major Matthew Golsteyn’s immediate commander has determined that sufficient evidence exists to warrant the preferral of charges against him,” Bymer told Task & Purpose on Thursday. “Maj. Golsteyn is being charged with the murder of an Afghan male during his 2010 deployment to Afghanistan.”
A redacted copy of Golsteyn’s charge sheet was not immediately available, Bymer said.
Golsteyn’s attorney Philip Stackhouse tweeted on Thursday that his client had been charged with pre-meditated murder, which is punishable by death.
It is the latest twist in a case that has dragged on for nearly nine years. Golsteyn first admitted during a polygraph test for a CIA interview that he had killed an unarmed Afghan man after a tribal leader told him that the man had built a bomb that killed two Marines.
Golsteyn believed that the Afghan man would kill the tribal leader in retribution for identifying him, so Golsteyn executed the man off base, the Washington Post reported. After initially burying the man, Golsteyn and two other soldiers later dug up the remains and burned them.
Army Criminal Investigation Command initially did not find enough evidence to charge Golsteyn, but an investigation was re-opened after the Green Beret talked about the killing during an October 2016 interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier.
When Baier asked Golsteyn if he had killed the Afghan man, 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.
In a statement to Task & Purpose last month, Golsteyn said the allegations him have already been resolved.
“This vindictive abuse of power must know no limit,” he said. “My hope is that Army leadership will stop this vindictive plan and effect the retirement that is pending.”