The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

War crimes by British forces in Afghanistan

British Special Air Services (SAS) troops may have killed dozens of unarmed civilians in Afghanistan as they allegedly carried out a policy of eliminating “all fighting-age males” while raiding homes between 2010 and 2013, lawyers for families of the victims have told a UK investigative panel. London-based law firm Leigh Day submitted fresh claims citing at least 30 suspicious incidents that resulted in the deaths of more than 80 Afghans, The Guardian reported. A public inquiry into alleged war crimes by UK forces in Afghanistan was launched in December, led by Lord Justice HaddonCave, who issued a call for evidence from all interested parties in March. SAS soldiers allegedly targeted young Afghan males encountered during their raids, “regardless of the threat they posed”. One of the troops “personally killed” 35 Afghans during a six-month deployment to the country, according to Leigh Day’s filing The killings were typically justified based on claims that the Afghans were armed, but in some incidents, there were more people shot dead than there were weapons found. Senior officers raised concerns at the time that UK troops were showing “a casual disregard for life”, lawyers for the Afghan families said, but military authorities responded with a “wide-ranging, multilayered and years-long cover-up”. The raids of Afghan compounds were carried out in search of Taliban [Islamic Emirate] often at night, during the UK’s deployments to Helmand province, the Guardian said. Earlier reports suggested that there may have been 54 people murdered by a single SAS unit, but lawyers for the families now claim that more troops were involved over a longer period of time than previously thought. The lawyers claimed to have found “credible evidence of a widespread and systematic pattern of unlawful and extrajudicial killings”. An investigation by military police ended in 2019, when UK defense officials said no evidence of criminal wrongdoing had been found. However, the lawyers claimed that the special forces headquarters deleted “an unknown quantity of data” shortly before police arrived to examine possible evidence, despite having been ordered by investigators not to erase any material stored on their servers. Other NATO member countries have also committed war crimes in Afghanistan. A four-year investigation, known as the Brereton report, found in 2020 that Australian Special Forces allegedly killed 39 unarmed prisoners and civilians in Afghanistan. Australia referred 19 current and former soldiers for potential criminal prosecution as a result. Australia’s military involvement in Afghanistan began in September 2001 and continued until mid-June 2021, the longest engagement by Australia in an armed conflict. Saida Ahmadi

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.