Swedish soldiers attacked in Afghanistan

A group of Swedish soldiers came under attack in Afghanistan on Thursday evening. The soldiers were patrolling with Afghani police when they were shot at.

An Afghani police officer was killed and two were injured in the attack. None of the Swedish soldiers were hurt.

The attack occurred at 9pm Swedish time, 30 kilometres west of Mazar-i-Sharif in Balkh province.

The Swedish defence forces are very reticent over the details of the attack.

“I can not go in to the nature of their mission and we do not comment equipment, the vehicle they were driving in or the security classification of the area,” Lukas Linné of the Swedish defence forces in Afghanistan said to news agency TT.

By the evening it remained unclear as to whom lay behind the attack on the Swedish forces. According to Linné the Swedes were on patrol with Afghani police when they were first attacked by explosives and then with hand-held firearms.

“The Swedish soldiers returned fire but none of the enemy were killed nor injured, according to our current information,” Linné confirmed.

According to Linné the area is now safe, calm and secure.

“We are continuing to perform our responsibilities, that is to say contribute to the work of the Afghani police,” he said.

The attack is the latest in a string of incidents involving Swedish forces in Afghanistan.

In November 2005 two Swedes were killed in the vicinity of Mazar-i-Sharif and last October-November three incidents were reported involving Swedish troops that had come under fire.

There are currently 70,000 foreign troops serving in Afghanistan. Of these 50,000 are part of the Nato-led Isaf – International Security Assistance Force – and are operating in the country on a UN mandate.

In addition there are 20,000 troops participating in the US-led OEF – Operation Enduring Freedom.

The almost 400 Swedish troops in Afghanistan are part of the Isaf force. Sweden recently announced an increase in its commitment to 500 soldiers.

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