UK’s SAS operatives accused of killing Afghan detainees

KABUL (Pajhwok): British Army’s Special Air Service (SAS) personnel repeatedly killed Afghan detainees and unarmed men, claims a BBC investigation.

The Special Forces Unit of the British Army specialises in multiple roles, including counter-terrorism, hostage rescue, direct action and covert reconnaissance.

Military reports indicate one unit could have unlawfully killed 54 people in one six-month tour. The ex-head of special forces allegedly failed to pass on evidence to a murder inquiry.

Although the Ministry of Defence insisted British troops served with courage in Afghanistan, the BBC believed former head of UK Special Forces Gen. Sir Mark Carleton-Smith was given a briefing on the alleged unlawful killings.

However, he did not share the evidence with the Royal Military Police, even after the RMP began a murder probe into the SAS squadron.

The BBC analysed newly obtained operational reports on SAS accounts of night raids. “We found a pattern of strikingly similar reports of Afghan men being shot dead …”

They were killed because they pulled AK-47 rifles or hand grenades from behind curtains or other furniture after having been detained.

In 2012, the SAS squadron involved in unlawful killings was allowed to redeploy to Afghanistan for another six-month tour, the report revealed.

Mainly operating in southern Helmand province, the squadron’s primary task was to conduct deliberate detention operations (DDOs), aka kill or capture raids.

The targeting process for night raids, which was often carried out in haste, ran the risk of “mislabeling innocent civilians”.

PAN Monitor/mud

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