Fears over Special Air Service (SAS) troops killing innocent Afghans were reportedly expressed in emails disclosed to the High Court by an Afghani civilian, Saifullah Yar, who is demanding an investigation into the killing of his family in an SAS raid.
The alleged emails revealed that in a period of three months at least 33 people were killed during night raids at their homes, after surrendering but reportedly trying to pick up weapons. In one of the messages, an SAS commander said that the “disturbing” allegations raised the possibility of “a deliberate policy among the unit to engage and kill fighting-aged males even when they did not pose a threat”.
The “disclosed” documents suggested there was a “horrifying pattern” behind the deadly night raids.
The cache of emails was reportedly disclosed as part of a case brought by Afghani resident Saifullah Yar, who wants justice for four of his relatives killed in one of the raids. According to the report, when the judge asked Defence Secretary Ben Wallace why the evidence was withheld earlier, Wallace claimed it was “not new”.
“This is not new evidence and this historical case has already been independently investigated. These documents were considered as part of the independent investigations, which concluded there was insufficient evidence to refer the case for prosecution”, he allegedly said.
Investigations into the “rogue” SAS unit were launched in 2017 after reports emerged that these troops allegedly committed “war crimes”, killing innocent civilians in Afghanistan and falsifying mission reports to cover up the murders. The government, however, was reluctant to continue pursuing the investigation, thereby garnering accusations of a cover-up.
Afghanistan has been mired in political instability for decades, first a civil war and the Taliban insurgency, then a US-led invasion to purportedly curb terrorism. Forces from the United Kingdom were present in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2014 as part of a mission called the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).