The fallen Swedes honored by their comrades in Afghanistan
soldier deaths in afghanistan

"Friendly Fire Can't Be Counted Out"

The February 7 killings of two Swedish soldiers and their interpreter in Afghanistan can be likened to an execution, the Swedish Armed Forces has said. Johan Palmlöv, Gunnar Andersson, and Mohammad Shahab were killed within eight to ten seconds by machine gun fire coming from a lone Afghan gunman standing five meters away, Major-General Berndt Grundevik said at a press conference on Thursday.

But Grundevik mentioned later that it’s possible that friendly fire played a role in their injuries, as some Swedish media sources have suggested. Yet he steadfastly maintained that they were already mortally wounded by the gunman even if accidental shots from Swedish soldiers may have hit them afterward.

“Our understanding is that the three men were killed by the initial rounds of ammunition from the offender. A chaotic combat situation followed directly after during which accidental shots can’t be counted out,” Grundevik said.

He told reporters at the press conference that the Swedes and their interpreter were declared dead by doctors at a hospital, at which time they also determined that the initial round of shots from the perpetrator killed the men instantly. The shooter was dressed in an Afghan police uniform when he carried out the execution-style killing.

Grundevik ended the press conference by praising the Swedish soldiers who managed to lead and protect the platoon in spite of seeing their commanders shot dead. The troops began shooting the Afghan killer as he tried to flee the scene, continuing until he lay still on the ground.

“Their actions could have stopped a massacre,” the Major-General said.

One Afghan man is still wanted in connection with the incident.

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