At the very least 54 Afghans have been killed by British particular forces in suspicious circumstances through the 2010-11 Helmand tour.
Commandos in the UK’s elite Particular Air Service (SAS) corps killed a minimum of 54 Afghans in suspicious circumstances throughout a six-month tour of Helmand province from November 2010 to Could 2011, however the navy chain of command hid considerations, in keeping with a BBC media community investigation.
Unarmed Afghan males have been routinely shot useless “in chilly blood” by SAS troops throughout night-time raids through the lengthy struggle in Afghanistan, and weapons have been planted on them to justify the crimes, the four-year inquiry discovered.
Senior officers, together with Normal Mark Carleton-Smith, who headed the UK Particular Forces on the time, have been conscious of considerations inside the SAS concerning the operations however did not report them to navy police, the BBC mentioned on Tuesday.
Beneath UK regulation governing the armed forces, it’s a felony offence for a commanding officer to fail to tell the navy police in the event that they develop into conscious of potential struggle crimes, the BBC famous.
Carleton-Smith, who retired final month as head of the British military general, declined to remark to the BBC programme Panorama, which mentioned its investigation was based mostly on court docket paperwork, leaked emails and its personal journalists’ journey to websites of the operations in Afghanistan.
The Ministry of Defence mentioned prior investigations into the conduct of UK forces in Afghanistan discovered inadequate proof to deliver prices.
“No new proof has been offered, however the service police will think about any allegations ought to new proof come to mild,” it mentioned in a press release to the BBC.
“The UK armed forces served with braveness and professionalism in Afghanistan and we’ll at all times maintain them to the very best requirements.”
The Panorama investigation, airing in full on Tuesday night, recognized 54 folks shot useless in suspicious circumstances by one SAS unit through the tour of Helmand province.
After-action experiences confirmed different officers have been shocked on the excessive casualty fee being inflicted by the unit, when not one of the SAS troops reported accidents in obvious firefights with Taliban fighters.
“Too many individuals have been being killed on evening raids and the reasons didn’t make sense. As soon as any individual is detained, they shouldn’t find yourself useless,” one senior officer at particular forces headquarters informed Panorama.
“For it to occur time and again was inflicting alarm at HQ. It was clear on the time that one thing was improper.”
There was explicit concern that SAS bullet holes discovered on the scene of Afghan residential compounds after the raids have been all low down – indicating that suspects have been kneeling or inclined on the bottom.
A number of warnings have been relayed up the chain of command, the BBC mentioned. However the SAS squadron was allowed to complete its six-month tour – and was deployed for an additional in 2012.
In 2014, the Royal Army Police launched an investigation into greater than 600 alleged offences by British forces in Afghanistan, together with a lot of killings by the SAS squadron.
However RMP investigators informed the BBC that they have been “obstructed” by the British navy, and the investigation resulted in 2019.
Colonel Oliver Lee, who was commander of the Royal Marines in Afghanistan in 2011, informed the programme that the allegations have been “extremely surprising” and merited a full public inquiry.