Prague - Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has praised the heroism of the four Czech soldiers who died in Afghanistan today and President Milos Zeman has expressed his deep respect for their fight against international terrorism.
Prezident Miloš Zeman vystoupil 8. července v Praze na briefingu k úmrtí českých vojáků v Afghánistánu. ČTK Šulová Kateřina
Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said the tragic and shocking event will not affect the deployment of soldiers in foreign missions.
"This is a very sad piece of news for both the Czech government and the whole Czech Republic," Sobotka said and expressed sympathy for the soldiers´ families.
"I would like to praise the heroism of the soldiers who fell in fulfilling a military mission, in the defence of the principles that the Czech Republic has long been defending, that is the principles of freedom and democracy," Sobotka said.
"President of the Republic Milos Zeman expresses deep sympathy to the families of the fallen Czech soldiers and a deep respect for their fight against international terrorism," Zeman´s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said in a press release.
Chamber of Deputies head Jan Hamacek and Senate chairman Milan Stech (both CSSD) also praised the Czech soldiers.
Stech said the tragic event has shown that "the fight against international terrorism in all its forms is far from ending, rather on the contrary."
Deputy Prime Minister Jiri Belobradek, Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) chairman, expressed his deep regret at the death of four Czech soldiers.
"We must be fighting for freedom an security also beyond our border. We believe that their sacrifice was not in vain. It again showed us how treacherous adversary the Taliban movement is," Belobradek wrote in a press release.
Former prime minister Jiri Paroubek, chairman of the extra-parliamentary LEV 21 party, said the Czech soldiers died unnecessarily "in an unnecessary war waged for the interests with which we have nothing in common" and called on the government to withdraw the soldiers from Afghanistan.
Four Czech soldiers died in the blast of a bomb and another Czech soldier received serious injuries when patrolling the surroundings of the Bagram base in the Afghan province of Parwan at 05:15 CEST today. Responsibility for the suicide attack was claimed by Taliban.
Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky has interrupted his holiday abroad and is returning to the Czech Republic. In the meantime he has ordered flags at the ministry to be flown at half-mast. He will give a press conference on the event in the morning on Wednesday.