A high-ranking judge demanded evidence from anyone regarding allegations of illegal activity by British forces in Afghanistan, including the Taliban.
Sir Charles Haddon Cave, who chairs an independent inquiry said that his team would “do everything possible to facilitate the receipt and hearing of evidence”.
This inquiry will examine allegations of illegal activity by British Armed Forces during deliberate Detention Operations (DDO), in Afghanistan, from mid-2010 to middle-2013.
It is a result of two DDOs that occurred in February 2011 & October 2012 when members from the Saifullah & Noorzai families were murdered.
Both families pleaded for an in-depth investigation into the murders for years.
Sir Charles was asked what would happen if the Taliban submitted evidence to the inquiry. He replied that he would listen to anyone with evidence.
The two families filed judicial review proceedings against MoD in 2019 and 2020 challenging the Ministry of Defence’s failure to investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths of their loved ones.
Documents revealed by the MoD during the Saifullah case at High Court revealed communications between British army officers. They claim these communications showed widespread knowledge and concerns regarding the killings. One British officer described the killings as the “latest massacre!” “.
Another document states that a newly-qualified officer stated: “During these missions, it was said all fighting age males were killed on target regardless the threat they posed.”
An officer in the special forces said that he found it sad that this happened. It was ultimately a failure of leadership.
“If we don’t believe it, no one else will. When the next Wikileaks happens then we will be dragged with them.”
Sky News has more information:
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Families argued that MoD documents showed that there were serious and persistent concerns raised within the military, at the highest level in the UK headquarters for Special Forces. These concerns were not reported to the police.
Lord Justice Haddon–Cave stated: “The allegations that the inquiry must consider – and these are, I stress they are only allegations at this point – are extremely grave.
“First, there were many unlawful killings by members of the British Armed Forces during this period.
“Third, these illegal killings were covered up in order to keep what had happened from ever coming to light.
“And third, that the long investigations conducted by the Royal Military Police were insufficient.
“It is important that any person who has violated the law be referred to the appropriate authorities for investigation; those who have not done anything wrong should have the cloud of suspicion lifted.
“This is crucial, both for the national reputation and the armed forces.”
Ben Wallace, Defence Secretary, commissioned the independent statutory inquiry.
London will host a second case management hearing on April 25th. A more detailed schedule will be provided.