Swedish officers ‘executed’ in Afghanistan

The attack which left two Swedish officers and their Afghan interpreter dead in February has been described as a "pure execution" in an Armed Forces reported on the incident published on Thursday.

The report did not however rule out friendly fire.

“They did not have a chance to defend themselves,” army inspector Berndt Grundevik said.

The Armed Forces have concluded that the three men died of two hails of bullet which lasted for eight to ten seconds.

The attacker was clad in an Afghanistan police officer’s uniform.

Johan Palmlöv, Gunnar Andersson, and Mohammad Shahab Ayouby, fell immediately to the ground when the party was attacked near Mazar-e Sharif on February 7th.

“The three were killed by an initial hail of shots from a lone attacker,” Grundevik said.

“To shoot at stationary people at that distance makes it very hard to miss.”

Following the shots the Swedish troops pursued the fleeing attacker. They shot him, he dropped his machine gun, but got up and tried to keep running.

The soldiers actions could have prevented a massacre, according to Berndt Grundevik.

In recent weeks several Swedish media sources have speculated that the soldiers could have been hit by shots from their own troops, so-called friendly fire.

“We can not rule out stray bullets from the Swedish personnel,” said the head of legal staff, Stefan Ryding-Berg, who otherwise referred to confidentiality.

A third Swedish soldier, a signaller, was injured in both feet.

The firefight left Andersson and Palmlöv mortally wounded and Shahab dead. A helicopter was ordered but the officers were already in a medical transport vehicle and the decision was taken to drive to the hospital in Marmal.

But on the way to Marmal an armoured vehicle got stuck in terrain and the road was blocked. A new helicopter was called in, but while waiting for the helicopter several more Swedish vehicles joined and the convoy was able to continue to its destination, an hour and 35 minutes after the attack.