British elite soldiers accused of summary killings in Afghanistan

A public inquiry has alleged that three British Special Air Service (SAS) units committed summary killings of at least eighty civilians in cold blood during their tours between 2010 and 2013 in Afghanistan.

Lawyers representing the families of victims have accused the soldiers of committing war crimes during their military operations in Afghanistan as part of conducting a policy of terminating all fighting-age men in home raids “regardless of the threat they posed”.

According to the inquiry, one of the soldiers is believed to have “personally killed” 35 Afghan civilians on a single six-month tour of duty.

During these operations in the country, SAS soldiers often killed civilians after allegedly producing weapons, but there were five incidents where the number shot dead exceeded the number of weapons found.

These claims are based on a document compiled by a law firm called Leigh Day and cited in a separate document based on previous Ministry of Defence (MoD) court disclosures.

The law firm has argued that there were “at least 30 suspicious incidents which resulted in the deaths of more than 80 individuals” between 2010 and 2013 in Afghanistan, without an independent public investigation carried out into it.

One reason Leigh Day articulated is “a wide-ranging, multilayered and years-long cover-up” of the crimes committed in the period which involved senior British officers.

Moreover, the document reveals “credible evidence of a widespread and systematic pattern of unlawful extrajudicial killings” by British SAS units. It had previously been estimated that there were 54 Afghan victims from a single SAS unit.

Full hearings into the allegations of war crimes by British elite SAS units in Afghanistan are expected to start in the autumn, but on Wednesday and Thursday it will be decided on a request from the MoD to “hold large parts of it secret, without members of the press or public present.”