Senior British military officials have been accused of covering up evidence after killing scores of Afghans illegally in the war in Afghanistan. The UK High Court has ruled in favor of removing the evidence. This information has come up in the documents of the Ministry of Defense of the United Kingdom. It said British special forces officers would kill innocent and unarmed Afghans whenever they suspected them.
The documents further state that the allegations were kept secret and that even the Royal Military Police were not informed. The Pentagon has said in a statement that the “evidence” was not fabricated. These have already been investigated.
BBC Panorama and the Sunday Times published an investigative report in 2019 alleging extrajudicial killings against special forces during the war in Afghanistan. The court followed that investigation. The High Court is also considering whether the allegations have been properly investigated by the armed forces.
The case has come up for discussion because of a person named Saifullah. Saifullah claimed that four members of his family were killed on the morning of February 16, 2011. Saifullah’s lawyer had asked the court to direct the defense secretary to release more documents before the full hearing of the case.
Those documents have already been presented before the court. It shows that on February 8, 2011, nine Afghan men were killed in an operation by British special forces. Two days later, the same team of special forces killed eight more.
In addition, more than a dozen detainees were taken to various buildings by British troops to help with the search. However, the British military claimed that they were looking for hidden weapons with the Afghans. They forced him to shoot.
The documents show that in an email, a British lieutenant colonel expressed distrust of the numbers while exchanging mails. The lieutenant colonel described the number of detainees who decided to snatch weapons after being sent back to a building as “absolutely unbelievable”.
In a reply to this mail, a subordinate army officer wrote, “I find such incidents depressing.” This is a big failure of leadership. One week after the incident, four members of Saifullah’s family were similarly killed. A senior Defense Department official described the killings as “surprising”.
Another senior official rejected the soldiers’ description of the incident, saying the official account at various levels of the investigation seemed surprising and denied the logic.
The court heard a British official, who gave a written statement to the commanding officer. The Special Forces told him that men capable of fighting had been killed.
The official said that this meant that men who were capable of fighting were killed in certain places, and after controlling them, they were killed in various ways. In one incident, a man was shot dead with a pistol over his head.
However, special forces officials did not report the matter to the Royal Military Police and ordered a high-level internal review. In the last six months, 11 special forces operations have been reviewed internally, in which people have been killed in the same manner.
The court heard that these cases of extrajudicial killings were covered up as top secrets. Documents presented to the court show that the allegations were made by a “high-ranking senior official” at the UK Special Forces headquarters.
The final report was written by the commanding officer of the Special Forces unit accused of carrying out the execution. He also took responsibility for conducting operations in different places.