On Thursday 14 April, The King travelled to Afghanistan to visit the Swedish troops. Over the course of three days, The King visited various locations in northern Afghanistan. The King was accompanied by Chief of Military Staff Major General Håkan Pettersson, who here gives his comments on some of the photographs taken during the visit.
"Here is The King meeting the civilian delegation at Camp Northern Light. This civilian unit will take over leadership of the Swedish operation in 2012, and includes representatives from both the police and Sida. Next to The King is ambassador Krister Bringéus, who is heading up the work."
"This is the helicopter we travelled in. We flew in two Black Hawks en route to Camp Monitor in Shibirghan. Captain Malin Adolfsson, who coordinated our visit, can be seen in the photograph."
"Here is The King, just after arriving at Camp Northern Light. After an introduction from Colonel Mikael Nilsson, The King inspected the troops."
"Here is The King with some soldiers who are making preparations before a night exercise. They talked about the atmosphere at the unit, and their thoughts about the pressure and the difficulties they face in their various missions. They said how pleased they were to have been given Camp Monitor, which is a fairly safe place to be based. Every military operation involves a certain amount of tension and stress, and the soldiers can now recuperate here in peace and quiet."
"Major Ulf Ahl demonstrates and describes the work of the unit."
"During our helicopter journey to northern Afghanistan, we saw the city of Balkh, northwest of Mazar-e Sharif, on the Uzbekistani border. Down in the corner you can see the old fort at Balkh."
"Here, The King is photographed together with one of the platoons on site at Camp Northern Light."
"Here we have just landed in Afghanistan, at Marmal Airport. To the right is Major General Markus Kneip from Germany, Head of Regional Command North. To the left, Brigadier Mikael Bydén greets The King."
"This is at the northern border, at the city of Termez. This is a new railway. You can see the tracks towards the bottom of the photo. Eventually, the railway will be used to transport supplies via Uzbekistan and onwards to Afghanistan, and will run to Mazar-e Sharif. There was a huge number of containers and lorries, which are being used until the railway starts running. It was an incredible sight to behold in the middle of the desert."
"Here is The King with unit commander Colonel Mikael Nilsson in the briefing room at Camp Northern Light. We were given a number of briefings in this room. The King was informed about the current situation and the circumstances in which the Swedes there find themselves."
"This photo was taken immediately after we had been given a briefing. These are members of the Camp Northern Light command staff speaking with The King."
"Here are some of the mine clearers from the Swedish mine clearing unit, showing The King what they do."
"This is a Norwegian camp that we visited just before leaving Afghanistan. We deal with all the maintenance at the Norwegian camp, which is next to Germany's Camp Regional Command North. Here we are visiting a workshop where a Patria tank is being lubricated and sand is being removed from its axles."