The victims’ mother, Bebe Hazrata, claims to have seen her three unarmed sons being gunned down by soldiers as they held their hands up in surrender in the courtyard of their home in Rahim, Afghanistan’s Helmand province in 2012, according to The Sunday Times.
The woman reportedly said she saw her sons (Nor Mohammad, 33, Din Mohammad, 30, and Sher Mohammad, 27) being killed after they walked into the courtyard at the center of their house with their hands held up above their heads. The shots were allegedly fired by soldiers on the roof of the building. “As they came out from the rooms they [the SAS] told them to hold up their hands,” she said. “The soldiers were aggressive and shouting but my sons didn’t say a word to them. Then they opened fire and killed them. They have no links with the Taliban.”
Major Chris Green, who served in the area with the British Army as a Captain at the time, told the newspaper that the SAS halted his attempts to probe the incident and refused to show him the “gun tapes” of the mission.
Green was reportedly told by a Special Air Service (SAS) representative that the three Afghan men had drawn weapons on them during the night raid on July 8, 2012.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Defence (MoD) records seen by the newspaper show that just 16 days after the incident, a payment of £3,634 was made for three people having been killed, with the case marked as “settled.”
An MoD source denied to the newspaper that the payment was compensation, calling it an “assistance payment” instead.
According to Green, however, it was clearly an evidence of a special forces mission gone horribly wrong. “To say it’s not compensation to the family is nonsense, really,” he told The Sunday Times. “This is what everybody called it on base, including the officers directly involved in paying the money. I am unaware of any money paid to the families of insurgents.
“I think this is significant evidence and, together with the refusal to share the gun tapes, indicates this mission warrants full investigation.”
Royal Military Police (RMP) have been investigating the mission as part of the Operation Northmoor inquiry since 2014. “Our armed forces served with great courage and professionalism and we proudly hold them to the highest standards,” the Ministry of Defence said in a statement to the newspaper. “The Royal Military Police’s Northmoor investigation has discontinued the vast majority of the allegations made and only a small number of ongoing investigations remain,” adding that it would be “inappropriate to comment further on any ongoing lines of inquiry.”
Citing military sources, The Times reported in July that Special Air Service troops executed unarmed civilians during night raids in Afghanistan and doctored after-action reports to shift blame onto their Afghan partners.
A string of killings allegedly took place during the final stages of Britain’s involvement in the Afghan war, the Times reported, citing Operation Northmoor investigation. Part of the RMP inquiry is said to have focused on a particular SAS squadron dubbed a “rogue” unit. Sources said there is “strong evidence” that unarmed Afghan civilians suspected of being Taliban militants were executed during night raids on their homes. Some British army officers told the newspaper they believed the SAS’ night operations were often based on unreliable intelligence. To cover up the reported killings, SAS soldiers allegedly tried to create the false impression that their victims were high-ranked Taliban warlords.
There are currently about 500 British personnel in Afghanistan amid reports that Washington is pressing London to send 85 more troops to the country. The US has 11,000 troops on the ground with 5,000 from NATO and its partners. “The message from the US Secretary of Defense is that he wants more in the fight. Britain benefits from Afghanistan not being a safe haven for terrorists as much as America does,” a source told the Telegraph in October.
Over the course of 14 years, 456 UK troops lost their lives in the conflict – a death rate higher than that of the conflict in Iraq and the Falklands War.