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Soldiers' Bodies Arrive Home in Sweden

Published onsdag 10 februari 2010 kl 11.11
Honoring the dead soldiers at Ärna airport on Wednesday night.

Updated 9:06 PM

A military plane carrying the bodies of the two Swedish soldiers killed in Afghanistan at the weekend has arrived at Ärna airport outside the city of Uppsala. Defence Minister Sten Tolgfors and Commandor Sverker Göranson placed a gold medal of honor on each of the two caskets draped in the Swedish flag.

The family members of the dead soldiers stood around the airplane ramp with the soldiers' bodies as a military band played drums in the fog.

Gunnar Andersson and Johan Palmlöv, both from Stockholm, were killed along with their interpreter on Sunday while out on foot patrol in northern Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, the Swedish Ministry of Defense confirmed that a number of people have been taken in for questioning in Afghanistan in connection with the shooting. The Swedish tabloid Expressen reported that three men have been arrested, suspected of collaborating with the man who fired the deadly shots.

The man who fired the shots was dressed in Afghan police uniform and had previously had some collaboration with the Swedish Armed Forces in Afghanistan, although it is not yet confirmed what kind of relation they had. After he shot the two Swedes and their Afghan interpreter, he was immediately killed by other Swedish troops.

A third Swedish soldier was shot in the foot during the shooting, and is currently being treated at the German Field Hospital in Marmal.

Troops from the same platoon as the two dead soldiers will end their tour of duty and fly back to Sweden next week. They will be replaced by 30 troops from the K3 regiment in Karlsborg.

"It's an extraordinary occurrence when two officers in a Swedish platoon are killed.That's why we have taken this decision," said defence chief Anders Lindström to Dagens Nyheter.

The Swedish ISAF-contingency consists of some 500 soldiers, and is located in and around Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan.

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