No charges over Swedish Afghanistan deaths

No Swedish soldiers will face charges over the shootings of two Swedish officers and an interpreter in Afghanistan in February.

Chief Prosecutor Krister Petersson at the Swedish International Prosecutor’s Office said on Monday that he was ending his investigation into the shootings. He said it had been hard to determine which guns had fired the bullets that killed the men.

“The Swedish soldiers were hit by several kinds of ammunition, but we cannot say with certainty which calibre they had or which gun they were fired from,” Petersson said.

The Swedish Armed Forces’ said that parts of a Swedish bullet were found in the bullet-proof vest of one of the Swedish officers.

The prosecutor wrote in his decision that the “chain of events appears to have been very rapid and was life-threatening to all the soldiers at the scene. Those involved did not have time to weigh up or consider their decisions for a long period.”

Petersson said that there was no indication that any of the soldiers had broken any safety procedures or orders, nor had they been negligent. He added that the inquiry had not been able to establish with a sufficient degree of certainty that the deaths had been caused by Swedish bullets.

Colonel Christer Tistam, commanding officer of the Swedish FS18 Afghanistan force at the time of the incident, appeared together with Petersson at a press conference in Stockholm on Monday.

“The soldiers who were in action at the scene have probably prevented the deaths of other Swedes,” he said.

Tistam welcomed “that Swedish authorities have now investigated the incident as far as possible and that the soldiers involved have been given an acknowledgement that they saved several lives.”

The armed forces now plan to analyze the prosecutor’s investigation. An internal military investigation is expected to be completed by the early autumn.

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