Military Criticized for Delaying Helicopter Deployment
The defence committee of the Swedish parliament has sharply criticized the top military command. In a hearing about the situation of the Swedish ISAF contingent in Afghanistan, committee chairman Anders Karlsson said that the necessary decisions to create safer conditions for the ISAF soldiers were taking much too long.
Karlsson asked Supreme Commander Sverker Göransson why the troops still had not received the helicopters they badly needed. Göransson replied that the helicopters had been ordered in 2006 and should have been put into service one year later. He added that the helicopters had been delivered earlier this year but could not be used because of numerous technical deficiencies.
According to Göransson the High Command considers to cancel the contract with the Swedish manufacturer and instead lease a number of foreign-made multi-purpose helicopters. Asked why this was taking so long the Supreme Commander replied: ”I am no magician.” When five soldiers of a Swedish patrol in Afghanistan were wounded last week by a roadside bomb there were no Medivac helicopters available to fly them to a field hospital. It had taken several hours before helicopters from a neighboring base had flown the wounded to safety.