The UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) has confirmed the involvement of UK Special Forces in a war crimes inquiry related to alleged unlawful killings in Afghanistan. The confirmation reverses a previous stance held by the MoD and comes after pressure from bereaved families and media outlets.
- The MoD dropped efforts to restrict mention of the Special Forces’ involvement in alleged war crimes in Afghanistan following challenges from bereaved families and media outlets, including the BBC.
- The inquiry is focusing on the conduct of UK Special Forces and is now reaching the stage of substantive hearings, according to Defense Secretary Ben Wallace.
- Evidence of UK Special Forces involvement in alleged unlawful killings in Afghanistan can now be openly discussed in inquiry hearings and reported publicly.
- Previous investigations by the BBC have uncovered evidence suggesting that an SAS unit operating in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011 killed 54 people in suspicious circumstances in one six-month tour.
- The MoD is still requesting anonymity for all Special Forces personnel involved in the Afghanistan operations and wants the witness evidence to be held in closed hearings, which has been criticized by the lawyers representing the families of Afghans killed.