KABUL: Britain’s High Court has received documents suggesting that senior military officers buried evidence that British troops were executing detainees and unarmed people in Afghanistan.
The court case follows a BBC report that raised allegations of unlawful killings by special forces during the war in Afghanistan.
According to British Defence Ministry documents, UK Special Forces officers suspected their men were killing unarmed Afghans who posed no threat. They also show the allegations were kept secret and not reported to the Royal Military Police.
Documents showed nine Afghan men were killed in a raid on 7 February 2011 and eight more were killed by the same special forces assault team two days later.
The man bringing the case, Saifullah, claims four members of his family were assassinated in the early hours of 16 February 2011. His lawyers were asking the court to order the defence secretary to release more documents before a full judicial review hearing.
More than a dozen detainees were killed after they were taken back into buildings to help search them. British troops claimed they were forced to shoot them after they reached for hidden weapons.
The documents show that in one email, a British lieutenant colonel expressed disbelief at the official accounts.
He said it was “quite incredible” the number of prisoners who decided to grab weapons after being sent back into a building.
A fellow officer replied: “I find it depressing it has come to this. Ultimately a massive failure of leadership.”
A week later, the four members of Saifullah’s family were shot dead in similar circumstances by the same special forces assault team.
The documents show the killings were described as “astonishing” by a senior officer.