• Sweden's news in English

Swedish soldiers killed by 'Afghan police'

TT/The Local · 8 Feb 2010, 10:17

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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.

Story continues below…

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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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...

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.
Today's headlines
Gothenburg 'one of Europe's most segregated cities'
An Isis flag in Kirkuk, Iraq. Photo: Uncredited/AP

One in ten school students in Gothenburg's north-eastern suburbs sympathize with religious extremist organizations, according to a survey.

Julian Assange
Sweden won't suspend Assange warrant for funeral
Assange has been in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012. Photo: Alastair Grant/AP

The WikiLeaks founder has requested a temporary suspension of an arrest warrant so he could leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the funeral of his mentor.

Swedish football diehard who went viral doesn't get the fuss
Possibly the most dedicated fan in the world. Photo: Patric Söderström/TT

A picture of Gefle IF celebrating with the only fan to make a 1164km round trip to see them has gone viral. The Local spoke to the diehard in question.

'I want to see women priests in the Catholic Church'
Archbishop Antje Jackelén meeting Pope Francis earlier in 2016. Photo: L'Osservatore Romano/AP

'I told the pope last year during a speech it is time to no longer speak for women about women, but to speak with women,' Sweden's Archbishop says.

Sweden one of world's easiest places to do business: report
A meeting at a Stockholm office. Photo: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

It is easier to do business in Sweden now than it was last year, according to a World Bank report.

This Swede has built a procrastinator's dream
Anders Åberg has built a website that allows you to hear what’s going on above the Earth. Photo: Personal & NASA

Ever wondered what's going on in the sky above the earth and in space? Now you can hear for yourself.

Presented by Malmö Tourism
Seven reasons why Malmö is the football capital of Sweden
Players from FC Rosengård, Sweden's most successful women's football team. Photo: Hangsna

It’s official, and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong.

Fake police car driver seized after confronting real police
File photo of a police car. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Three men in a fake police car were left red-faced after they tried to stop a man in southern Sweden who turned out to be an off-duty officer.

This tiny bird can fly for ten months straight: scientists
The common swift while not in flight. Photo: Madis Veskimeister/Wikimedia

Swedish scientists have found that this bird stays in the air for almost a year without landing.

Why the Pope is visiting Sweden next week
Pope Francis in the Vatican. Photo: AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino

Pope to nail reconciliation agenda to Lutherans' door in southern Sweden.

Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
People-watching: October 26th
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast
Is Game of Thrones coming to Sweden?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available