KABUL: British Commandos are alleged to have killed at least 80 civilians in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2013 when British Special Air Services (SAS) troops were conducting home raids as part of their operations.
London-based law firm Leigh Day representing the families of the victims submitted new claims stating that at least 30 suspicious incidents resulted in the loss of Afghan lives. The allegations suggest that the SAS implemented a policy to eliminate all fighting-age males encountered during these raids, even if they posed no threat.
The legal submission also revealed that one SAS soldier allegedly personally killed 35 Afghans during a six-month deployment. The justifications for these killings often revolved around claims that the victims were armed. However, in some instances, the number of casualties exceeded the number of weapons recovered. Lawyers for the Afghan families stated that senior officers expressed concerns at the time about the disregard for human life displayed by UK troops. They further claimed that military authorities engaged in a cover-up spanning several years in response to these concerns.
The raids on Afghan compounds primarily aimed to locate Taliban fighters and were typically conducted at night during the UK’s presence in Helmand province. Initial reports indicated that a single SAS unit may have been responsible for the deaths of 54 people. However, the lawyers now contend that multiple troops were involved over a longer period, presenting what they describe as “credible evidence of a widespread and systematic pattern of unlawful and extrajudicial killings.”
A military police investigation concluded in 2019, with UK defense officials stating that no evidence of criminal wrongdoing was found. Nevertheless, the lawyers alleged that the special forces headquarters deleted an undisclosed amount of data shortly before investigators arrived to examine potential evidence, despite being instructed not to erase any material stored on their servers.