An Afghan soldier who killed a Marine lance corporal in a green-on-blue attack in 2012 is now awaiting execution in Afghanistan after being convicted of murder by a local court, according to Marine officials and court documents.
Lance Cpl. Edward “Eddie” Dycus, of Greenville, Miss., was 22 when he was shot by a member of the Afghan National Army on Jan. 31, 2012, at a combat outpost in Marjah, a kinetic region in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. He died the following day.
Dycus was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C.,
According to documents requested by Marine Corps Times through a Freedom of Information Act request, the Afghan soldier, known as Naqibullah, took a rifle from another ANA soldier in the barracks and shot Dycus in the head. He was arrested by Marines as he tried to flee.
At the time, the incident was the seventh insider attack against U.S. service members in six weeks, an alarming trend that the Pentagon may have tried to downplay by simply stating in public releases that Dycus was killed in combat operations. The circumstances of his death weren’t revealed publicly by the military until more than a month later, when Maj. Gen. John Toolan, then the top Marine commander in Afghanistan, referred to the tragedy in an interview with The Associated Press.
A newly released Marine Corps observer report from Naqibullah’s court-martial, which was conducted by the Afghan National Army in August 2012, reveals that the Afghan soldier claimed that drugs were responsible for his violent actions, but the facts of his explanation were thin.
Naqibullah, a 20-year-old with an eighth-grade education, had served in Marjah for 2½ years. He claimed “he had no plan to commit murder and he had told investigators he was drugged,” according to the observer’s report. “He worked with foreigners daily but never committed a crime like this.”
Upon questioning, though, Naqibullah said he had no problem with the Afghan soldier who allegedly drugged him, and couldn’t explain how he had been drugged with a cup of chai tea, which he had requested. Nor could he explain how, if he was high on drugs, he was able to hit his target. A drug test administered by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service came back negative.
During the court-martial, prosecutors read statements from Dycus’ mother and sister, who asked for justice and spoke of how they missed him. After hearing the statement, Naqibullah apologized and said he regretted his actions.
Attempts to reach Dycus’ mother and sister for comment were unsuccessful.
Following the trial, a three-judge panel convicted Naqibullah of murder and sentenced him to 20 years imprisonment, but both the prosecution and defense appealed the ruling. On appeal, the lighter sentence was rejected. Prosecutors argued that Dycus was a public servant at the time of his death, and that his murder, therefore, warranted a harsher penalty under Afghan law. Naqibullah was sentenced to death by hanging in November 2012.
A Marine spokesman in Afghanistan, Lt. Col. Cliff Gilmore, said Naqibullah remains in Afghanistan, awaiting justice.
“The subject in question was convicted of murder and is in the National Prison at Pol-e-charki in Kabul, where is his awaiting execution, though no timeline has yet been set on when the sentence will be carried out,” Gilmore said.
Insider attacks surged to a high in 2012, the year Dycus was killed, with 53 coalition troops killed in 38 incidents, according to Associated Press reports. The green-on-blue violence receded in 2013, with 16 troops killed in 10 attacks. There have been nine Marines killed in insider attacks in Afghanistan, according to data collected by iCasualties.org, including the three Marines killed by a teenage Afghan “tea boy” on Aug. 10, 2012. All took place in 2012 and 2013.■