Combat Vehicle 90 for Afghanistan

Swedish troops have on two occasions been subjected to rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) attacks in Afghanistan. This is made clear in Army Inspector Berndt Grundevik’s analysis of the events of  7 and 8 November when Swedish soldiers found themselves under fire in northern Afghanistan. Major General Grundevik is now recommending that the Swedish Armed Forces should take new measures including the deployment of Combat Vehicle 90 (CV 90) to Afghanistan.

Combat Vehicle 90. Photo: Mikael Karlsson

The Swedish Armed Forces have stated in recent weeks that the incidents lie within the threat and risk assessment previously carried out by the Swedish Military Intelligence and Security Service.
“In my capacity as tactical commander, I consider that these incidents have involved greater risk. I should like to make it clear, however, that this is my own view, and now that the report has been completed, a deeper analysis by the Swedish Military Intelligence Service will also be needed,” says Maj Gen Grundevik.

Following the incident on 7 November, empty 7.62×39 mm cartridge cases and an RPG grenade, the type fired from an RPG rocket launcher, were found at the location of the shooting.
“At least one, but probably two or three, RPG grenades were fired during this incident. It is estimated that two or three explosions were also heard on 8 November, a fact that has emerged from interviews and witness statements. Since the propellant pack for an RPG was subsequently found approximately 300 metres from the location where the troops came under fire, these explosions are judged to have come from the firing of RPG rounds,” says Berndt Grundevik.

On the day following the 7 November incident, one of the soldiers, the vehicle commander, discovered when having a shower that he had some small marks, about a millimetre or less in size and probably due to very small fragments, on his head and right arm. A soldier who had been sitting in the left rear seat had opened fire through the window. A round had struck the door frame and it was probably fragments from this impact that had then hit the vehicle commander.

During the course of the autumn, the Armed Forces have carried out an analysis of the vehicles deployed in Afghanistan and have looked carefully at the possible need to make changes.
“To improve still further the balance between protection and effectiveness, more armoured vehicles should be provided. At least three additional CV 90 armoured combat vehicles should be provided to give further freedom of movement. This means making armoured vehicles available for all units as an immediate alternative,” says the General.

The Swedish Armed Forces have previously drawn attention to the need to improve the intelligence capability in Afghanistan.
“To enhance our ability to gather intelligence round the clock, a lightweight UAV system, that is to say a team capable of operating small unmanned aircraft equipped for surveillance, should be sent to Afghanistan immediately for trials and evaluation. Preparations for this are in hand.”

General Grundevik’s report is based on interviews, a search of the site and examination of items found. Two former commanders in Afghanistan are to put forward, no later than mid-December, their suggestions as to how operations in Mazar-e-Sharif can be further developed.