WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
July 13 2024
WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
Search
Close this search box.

SAS Afghanistan Killings Inquiry Begins

SAS Afghanistan Killings Inquiry Begins

A public inquiry began on Monday into the allegations of a cover-up of the killings of up to 80 Afghans by UK special forces.

The allegations include accusations of extrajudicial killings and “throwdowns” – shooting unarmed people, and then placing weapons on their bodies afterwards. One incident involves the alleged killing of nine people “in their beds”. Afterwards, it is said that relevant evidence was intentionally deleted to hinder investigation.

The inquiry follows an investigation by the Ministry of Defence into the killings that was closed after 5 years with no charges put forward. Veterans’ Minister Johnny Mercer argued in a debate in Parliament that these original investigations were ‘flawed’ and that the opportunity to hold those responsible ‘may now be lost’.

As reported in the Guardian, a family member of one of the victims, Mansour Aziz, hopes the inquiry will get to the bottom of why his family were targeted by British special forces. Aziz’s brother and sister-in-law were killed in 2012 during a night raid by special forces which left their two children injured. In a statement released by his lawyers, Aziz said that he ‘wishes to know the truth’ and further asked ‘for the court to listen to these children and bring justice’.

Two other families have also brought judicial proceedings against the government in 2019 and 2020 claiming the SAS covered up the illegal killing of their family members. The Saifullah family had 4 of their relatives killed in a raid in 2011 with one family member stating that they had ‘lost everything’.

According to interviews with Royal Military Police (RMP) officers for a Panorama interview, senior military officials prevented them from properly investigating these killings by blocking interviews with special forces and access to forensic evidence.

Leigh Day, the law firm representing victims’ families including Mansour Aziz, claims that the closing of this RMP investigation officially known as Operation Northwood was part of a ‘wide-ranging’ and ‘multilayered’ cover-up. As reported in The Times, the submission prepared by Leigh Day for the inquiry states that instead of the relevant information relating to extrajudicial killings being sent to the RMP, it was instead kept by special forces commanders. In defiance of the RMP, the submission claims that commanders purposefully deleted this information before it could be reviewed by investigators.

Chair of the Inquiry, Lord Justice Haddon-Cave, said: ‘It is important to establish the truth, or otherwise, of the grave allegations which are the focus of the Terms of Reference. They touch on the fine reputation of the military and the UK. The public, and all those who serve in the military, are entitled to expect a fair, fearless and thorough examination of the facts and clear answers to the questions raised.’

Related Posts