Extreme allegations that a “rogue” SAS unit carried out night missions in which it executed civilians in Afghan villages have been revealed in court documents.
The treasure of secret files had previously been covered up in a court case pending before the High Court by the government, prompting a judge to demand an explanation from Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace.
Communications from senior special forces reveal enormous concern over the killing of more than 33 Afghans in 11 different nightly raids on houses by the same unit.
Extreme allegations that a ‘rogue’ SAS unit carried out night missions in which it executed civilians in Afghan villages have been revealed in court documents (stock photo)
The documents, seen by the Sunday Times Insight team, reveal a significant incident that was alleged to be quadruple murder by British troops and is now at the center of the case.
On February 16, 2011, the anonymous SAS unit arrived by Chinook helicopter in the village of Gawahargin, in southern Helmand province.
They were looking for a young man named Saddam, suspected of belonging to an enemy gang that was planting roadside bombs.
With trained laser sights, they attacked his family home, with family members including his brother Saifullah, 19, coming out into the night with his hands raised.
The documents, seen by the Sunday Times Insight team, reveal a significant incident believed to have been a quadruple murder by British troops, and which is now at the center of the case (stock photo)
Women and children were tied up, with black hoods placed over their heads as they were held in part of the small compound.
In the minutes that followed, they heard gunshots.
After the special forces soldiers took off, Saifullah returned to the house in search of his father. He found him, along with his brothers and his cousin later, dead and with several bullet holes in the head.
Two years later, Saifullah’s uncle lodged a complaint against the UK government for unlawful detention and ill-treatment after he was jailed for 20 days after the SAS raid and then released without charge.
As part of the litigation, the allegation of the four killings of civilians was forwarded to the Royal Military Police (RMP) Special Investigations Directorate, which deemed the allegations serious enough to open an investigation in March 2014.
But in the extraordinary communications between members of the unit and senior special forces officials revealed in court, the circumstances of the trip are cast in the dark.
When a computer link to the mission report was released earlier in the morning, a SAS Troop sergeant major e-mailed at 6:56 am, “That’s about. . . last massacre! I have heard a few rumors.
But in response, a senior non-commissioned officer returned a note, setting out what appears to be the official line on details.
Describing the death of Saifullah’s cousin, Ahmad Shah, he writes: “Basically, for what must be the tenth time in the last two weeks, when they sent a B [Afghan man] back to the A [a building], to open the curtains (??) he reappeared [sic] with an AK [AK-47 assault rifle]».
Then describing his father’s death, he said they went to another building, rated “A”, along with another Afghan “B” to “open the curtains”, when the man grabbed a grenade and threw it at them. Fortunately, this did not happen, but the man was shot.
The email ends with a reference to the shooting outside the compound of one of Saifullah’s two brothers, Saddam. “And finally, they shot a guy who was hiding in a bush with a grenade in his hand. You couldn’t do it!
But the eerie details of the death, where Afghan men are pulling AK47s and grenades from beds and behind curtains officers told them to open, raised eyebrows higher in the chain of command.
In a note written on the day of the killings, an officer said he had a “very difficult” meeting with the colonel in charge of an Afghan partner unit (APU) about the incident.
The colonel brought nine of his soldiers, one of whom was a relative of Saifullah’s family and who gave assurances that the dead were teachers and farmers, not Taliban supporters.
The colonel said his soldiers reported that no one fired at coalition forces, but that the men “were still shot.”
The officer’s note added: “He suggests that 2 men were shot while trying to escape, and that the other 2 men were ‘murdered’ on the target after having already been detained and searched. “
It is also concerning that of the 33 deaths, 10 were almost identical in their circumstances, with a captured male member of the family returning to his empty house to clear the way for a search of the premises, only to get his hands on a weapon. . and attack the soldiers with “clearly impossible chances”.
In response to the Sunday Times story, the Defense Department said: “This is not new evidence, and this landmark case has already been the subject of an independent investigation by the Royal Military Police as part of the of Operation Northmoor. It has also been the subject of four reviews by an independent review team ”.