The British Special Air Service is facing accusations of war crimes following the exposure of an internal investigation into murderous rampages conducted across Afghanistan that were subsequently covered up.
The massive Royal Military Police investigation, called Operation Northmoor, has looked into hundreds of allegations of potentially illegal killings conducted between 2010 and 2013, but officials keen to avoid scandal have tried to bury the operation.
The allegations have been described as “credible” by senior military police and sources within the government, which has tried to keep the scandal secret as over 100 RMP officers have combed through evidence showing how SAS personnel massacred unarmed civilians in various operations.
In a 2011 case that remains under investigation, special forces unit troops operating in Qala-e-Bost in southern Helmand province killed four family members during a night raid. Family members and officials claim that two of the victims were handcuffed with plastic zip-ties prior to being murdered in cold blood.
The operation has also discovered that evidence in top-secret reports was tampered with, making it seem as if killings committed by British soldiers were conducted by their Afghan counterparts. Bullets recovered from the bodies of victims showed, however, that SAS firearms were used in killings.
Photos acquired by Northmoor also revealed that weapons were planted on victims to make it seem as if they were Taliban commanders, rather than civilians.
According to officers who spoke to the Sunday Times, the SAS soldiers had adopted the “shoot-to-kill” based on a frustration over the release of Afghan suspects captured in night raids. The unlawful and murderous policy was then applied in missions based on faulty intelligence, leading to a wave of fatal operations against civilians unconnected to the Taliban insurgency.
The operation was established in 2014 and was expected to continue until late 2021, but Ministry of Defense officials eager “to make it go away” due to the grisly details of the scandal instructed the Operation Northmoor team to wind down the investigation by this summer.
A February order by Defense Secretary Sir Michael Fallon dropped 90 percent of the 675 allegations of misconduct, including those regarding 52 unlawful killings conducted by the troops, severely curtailing the ability of military police to properly investigate the 675 allegations leveled by civilians mistreated by British troops in the 13-year imperialist war.
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