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Swedish soldiers killed by 'Afghan police'
Captain Johan Palmlöv and Lieutenant Gunnar Andersson

Swedish soldiers killed by 'Afghan police'

Published: 08 Feb 2010 10:17 GMT+01:00
Updated: 08 Feb 2010 10:17 GMT+01:00

Military police are conducting an investigation into reports that the two Swedish military officers and their local interpreter killed on Sunday west of Mazar-e Sharif in Afghanistan were attacked by a police officer.

The two Swedish soldiers, Johan Palmlöv and Gunnar Andersson, and their Afghan interpreter, Mohammad Shahab Ayouby, were part of the patrol which came under fire near a police station, 40 kilometres west of Mazar-e Sharif, near the village of Gurgi Tappeh.

Soldiers in the patrol have confirmed that their attacker was dressed in an Afghan police officer's uniform.

"A military police investigation has been launched to clarify the circumstances. It is still too early to determine if it was a police officer or an attacker dressed in a police uniform," said Gustaf Wallerfelt at the FS 18 contingent stationed in the area, in a Swedish military statement.

"The investigation is being conducted in close cooperation with the Afghan police."

It has been confirmed that the two dead Swedish officers come from the Stockholm area and have been named as 28-year-old Captain Johan Palmlöv and 31-year-old Lieutenant Gunnar Andersson.

The third Swedish soldier, who sustained minor injuries in the attack, is also from the Stockholm area.

The Swedish soldiers were operating in an area where Swedish and Finnish peace keepers confiscated 70 kilogrammes of narcotics and a quantity of explosives earlier in the week.

According to news agency TT reporters in the area, villagers believe that the soldiers could have been attacked as an act of revenge from local Taliban.

The use of police and army uniforms is a common method applied by opponents to the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan to carry out suicide attacks or to gain access to security zones.

The investigation into the identity of the attacker, who was killed in return fire, is likely to take time, the Swedish military have confirmed.

A commission of inquiry has been assembled in Stockholm and will be despatched to Mazar-e Sharif at the earliest opportunity to assist with inquiries.

Swedish forces have been operating in Afghanistan since 2002.

The 500-strong Swedish ISAF-led force (FS18) is based in Mazar-e Sharif, 400 kilometres northwest of Kabul.

ISAF is a NATO-led security and development mission in Afghanistan established by the United Nations Security Council in 2001. The base is home to Swedish and Finnish peacekeeping forces.

"There remains a belief that we can achieve our goal, if for no other reason everything would have been in vain," Gustaf Wallerfelt said of the atmosphere among Swedish forces in Afghanistan.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:27 February 8, 2010 by Ferozpur
I as an Afghan who live in the north of the county, am very sorry of this accident.

condulness to the families of Swedish soldiers and my Afghan county boy
11:44 February 8, 2010 by senthil v
My deepest condolences to the families. Hope for things to be better. It sounds very confusing, someone in a uniform who is supposed to be your ally would start shooting at you !!. The reaction time would be so less at such an incident.
12:09 February 8, 2010 by Alex Coman
Friendly fire-it happens all the time.

Insurgents in uniforms-nothing new, all soldiers expect that to happen.

This is a full scale war, what do you expect???

Afghans hates everybody there, and they have all the reasons to do that.

May God rest their brave souls, may God be with their families.
16:52 February 8, 2010 by Henckel
Was it really "Friendly fire"? or was this another case of Afghans turning on and killing their supposed allies?
18:13 February 8, 2010 by "green Swede"
yes henckel fair point,where does it mention the term friendly fire? friendly fire means accidental fire from your own side,this article suggests a mavrick afghan police officer or a taliban insurgent dressed as a police officer.big difference.
19:33 February 8, 2010 by Alex Coman
If an afghan officer shoot by mistake a fellow soldier, be sure he will be gone and not waiting for punishment. Be sure they(afghan police officers and army soldiers) are by far much more motivated to open fire first. If the talibans catch one of them...oh, boy! They really live in fear, not is stress, like allied troops.

Another point is the NATO forces will cover, for good old propagandistic reasons, all mistakes made by allied troops.

All of this means not so much, now, for those 2 brave soldiers who are dead.
19:37 February 8, 2010 by Kevtravels
Sweden may have started the mission as strictly humanitarian mission but it is by no means that anymore. Every year since 2005 the insurgency has greatly expanded and so has NATO in combatting them.

Sweden has around 500 or so troops. Not enough for their area so hopefully the US or Germany or Norway either send troops or trained Afghans to aid them.

I think it's a brave thing what Sweden is doing since it's not a NATO nation but it has to be realistic about the situation. This is war. If the people don't want it, speak your mind and let it be known. Don't just ignore the mission cause it's serious.
19:52 February 8, 2010 by Mike #1986
what aload of crap ...

ofcourse its a sad story for the familys..

but have we forgotten its a warzone that they chose to be involved and participate in the worlds most life threatning job!!!

patroling a land infected with terror what do you expect a HERO approach..

there british soldiers dying almost everyday by ambush assaults ..

my advice get out of there if you want to live long enough...

peace
20:15 February 8, 2010 by rybo1
Too bad! I feel sorry for those killed and their families. But, this is what happens when you're a tool of the beast, A.K.A., America and it's proxy called NATO (Nutto). How does the North Atlantic Treaty Organization end up in Afghanistan? Are Afghanis threatening the North Atlantic? The whole thing is so absurd. Leave the Afghanis alone and stop mongering for them as a stepping stone for more oil resources.
21:31 February 8, 2010 by Kaethar
@rybo1: Spoken by someone completely ignorant of the situation in Afghanistan.
21:35 February 8, 2010 by Kevtravels
It's to be understood that many won't have the resolve to stay committed to the mission. The mission is to train and equip the Afghans to secure their own nation. Originally NATO's mission was reconstruction and security but the former often got bogged down due to combat with the remnants of the Taliban and other related groups.

A lot of mistakes have been made on NATO's watch but the last few months have seemed a determined push by the West to fix the situation.

I can understand that countries like Sweden or the NL or Germany aren't used to seeing troops killed in action especially under the pretense of "humanitarian mission" but Afghanistan is the real deal. This should not be a secret anymore. Even the most peaceful nations like New Zealand or Sweden have to be prepared for combat when simply giving aid to local villagers.

I believe it's a worthy mission and if we withdraw before the Afghans are ready, we are signing their death warrant.
09:07 February 9, 2010 by johnnyrebel
"To whom does this war bring prosperity? Not to the soldier … not to the brokenhearted widow … not to the mother who weeps at the death of her baby boy … . War brings no prosperity to the great mass of common and patriotic citizens … .War brings prosperity to the stock gambler on Wall Street."

To all of you gungho war mongers...manup. Enlist...and if you cannot, make sure that your children enlist, OK? There, that should cure your big mouths. I am dead certain that all of that bravado and living room courage will evaporate into thin air at the sight of any real battleground.
23:27 February 9, 2010 by muda
Stop meddling in other countries' business or else you have to pay for a high price, coffins keep on coming back. The war to combat terrorism in Afgahnistan is purely heresy and futile. It's being proxied for oil and stock gamblers on wall street as somebody highlighted above.
11:31 February 10, 2010 by speedygonzales
Swedish mix themselves in imperialism (robbing of other countries) and politicians don't care so much for meat of soldiers. Families of dead soldiers should make protest in front of government and demand all soldiers back to their home: sweden. I don't see Afghan soldiers in Sweden, nobody attacked Sweden, so, Sweden has no reason to send soldiers in any foreign country and surely not in Afghanistan.
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