British soldiers in Lashkar Gah, Helmand province, Afghanistan, in 2010.
A commando from the Special Air Service (SAS), Britain's special forces, killed at least 54 people in suspicious circumstances in Afghanistan, facts concealed by the military hierarchy, according to a BBC investigation broadcast on Tuesday.
< p class="e-p">Unarmed Afghans were killed in cold blood by the SAS in night raids between November 2010 and May 2011 and weapons were later placed on their bodies to justify these crimes, reports the British channel after a four-year investigation.
Senior officials, including General Mark Carleton-Smith, who headed Britain's special forces at the time, were aware of concerns about these operations within the SAS, but failed to inform police. military, according to the BBC.
Under British law governing the armed forces, the failure of a commander to inform the military police if he has knowledge of war crimes potential is a criminal offence, notes the BBC.
Mr Carleton-Smith, who retired last month after commanding the entire British army, declined to comment to the BBC, whose investigation is based on court documents , leaked emails and on the field work of its journalists in Afghanistan.
The Department of Defense said it lacked evidence to prosecute. No new evidence has been presented, but police will investigate any allegations if new evidence comes to light, he said in a statement to the BBC.
The BBC investigation identified 54 people shot and killed in suspicious circumstances by an SAS unit between November 2010 and May 2011 in Helmand province.
Too many people were killed in night raids and the explanations made no sense. When someone is detained, they must not end up killed, reacted a military official to the BBC.
It was clear at the time that something was wrong.
Several warnings came up, according to the BBC, but the commando was allowed to finish its mission and was even deployed for another mission in 2012.
In 2014, the Royal Military Police (RMP) launched an investigation into over 600 alleged offenses committed by British forces in Afghanistan, including the SAS.
Se investigators told the BBC they were hampered by the military and the investigation ended in 2019.