King Grieves for Soldiers Killed in Attack
Writing after a day that saw two Swedish soldiers shot dead and one injured in Afghanistan, Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf expressed his grief in a statement on Monday, writing that his and his family's thoughts "go to the family members, the dead, and the injured soldier."
Mirroring Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt's earlier statements about the significance of the Swedes' mission in the country, the King also wrote that "the work that our Swedish units are doing is important and meaningful, despite the difficult situation they are in."
On Sunday, the Supreme Commander of the Swedish armed forces, Sverker Göranson, described the loss of the two Swedish officers as "a heavy day."
The Swedish soldiers, 28-year-old captain Johan Palmlöv and 31-year-old Lieutenant Gunnar Andersson, both from Stockholm, were on foot patrol in an area west of Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan when they came under fire from a gunman wearing the uniform of the Afghan police. A local interpreter was also killed in the attack, and a third Swedish soldier was shot in the foot, later flown by helicopter to a German-operated army hospital in Marmal. The gunman was shot and killed in the ensuing shootout.
Sunday morning's attack was the latest involving Swedes in a week. Last Tuesday, Swedish troops came under fire in a Swedish-Finnish security area in northern Afghanistan.
The attack took to four the number of Swedish soldiers killed in Afghanistan since Stockholm sent troops into the country in 2001.
More than 500 Swedish troops are currently deployed in Afghanistan, working alongside soldiers from around 43 countries in a NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.