Credible evidence indicates that Britain's Special Air Service troops executed unarmed civilians in Afghanistan, a report has revealed.
In a report published on Sunday, London The Times daily reported that, Members of Britain's Special Air Service (SAS) are alleged to have covered up evidence that they killed unarmed Afghan civilians in cold blood and falsified mission reports in a potential war crimes scandal that the government has tried to keep secret.
The allegations have emerged in a classified multimillion-pound Royal Military Police (RMP) investigation, Operation Northmoor, which has been run from a secure underground bunker in Cornwall for the past year and a half.
Sources with detailed knowledge concerning the investigation said there is "strong evidence" that unarmed Afghan civilians suspected of being Taliban militants were executed during night raids on their homes.
Conducting Night raids to apprehend suspected insurgents was a key tactic for British and other Western forces in Afghanistan. The suspects would then be sent to detention centers in an attempt to undermine the leadership of the Taliban.
Some British army officers told the Times they believed the SAS' night operations were often based on unreliable intelligence. Special Forces operatives were also inclined to kill rather than capture suspects, contrary to the rules of engagement.
Another source told the Times that, at one point, an Afghan commando unit had refused to patrol with the British because of their conduct. An Afghan Special Forces officer also told the newspaper that in 2010 he had seen SAS soldiers planting drugs and guns on a victim who had been "needlessly" shot at a checkpoint.
Launched in 2014, the RMP investigation has taken on dozens of cases involving alleged killings by British Special Forces. It has become one of the largest inquiries conducted by British military police, with more than 100 detectives involved. However, the government is now reluctant to carry on with the investigation, as it could potentially lead to numerous courts martial being initiated to prosecute alleged war crimes.
British troops are in Afghanistan as part of US-led forces which invaded the country in 2001. The foreign forces continue to commit war crimes while failing to restore security. Despite the presence of the US-led occupation troops, Afghanistan continues to experience an upsurge of terrorism coupled with a phenomenal increase in production of narcotics.
US War crimes, almost 5 million Afghanis killed
November last year, international criminal court's chief prosecutor said US armed forces and the CIA may have committed war crimes by torturing detainees in Afghanistan, raising the possibility that American citizens could be indicted even though Washington has not joined the global court.
"Members of US armed forces appear to have subjected at least 61 detained persons to torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity on the territory of Afghanistan between 1 May 2003 and 31 December 2014," according to the report issued by prosecutor Fatou Bensouda's office.
February this year, Washington DC-based Physicians for Social Responsibility (PRS) released a landmark study concluding that the death toll from 10 years of the US-led "War on Terror" since the 9/11 attacks is at least 1.3 million, and could be as high as 2 million.
The 97-page report by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning doctors' group was the first to tally up the total number of civilian casualties from US-led counter-terrorism interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Some sources say suggest that the total Afghan death toll due to the direct and indirect impacts of US-led intervention since the early nineties until now could be as high 3-5 million.