BBC SLAMMED by MoD for putting 'frontline troops at risk' in SAS 'death squads' programme

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The programme is due to be shown on the BBC tonight and examines whether SAS troops could have killed up to 54 people in one six-month tour. The documentary also claims senior military leaders failed to pass on allegations of the events to the Royal Military Police (RMP) at the time.

The MoD has stated that British troops “served with courage and professionalism in Afghanistan”, and have now raised concerns the BBC could place current front-line troops in danger.

The MoD has issued a strong rebuttal of the programme, which it said: “puts our brave Armed Forces personnel at risk both in the field and reputationally”.

The allegations come following a 2014 operation named “Northmoor”.

BBC Panorama analysed hundreds of pages of SAS operational accounts, including reports covering more than a dozen “kill or capture” raids carried out by one SAS squadron in Helmand in 2010/11.

Individuals who served with the squadron on that deployment alleged to the BBC they witnessed the SAS operatives kill unarmed people during night raids.

They also claimed they saw the operatives using so-called “drop weapons” – AK-47s planted at a scene to justify the killing of an unarmed person.

The RMP is said to have completed an independent and extensive investigation into the allegations, looking at the conduct of British troops at the time, however, this was brought to an end in 2019.

At this point, no prosecutions have been brought against any current serving or past military personnel.

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Speaking of the latest allegations, and how the British military reputation is now at risk, an MoD spokesperson said: “BBC’s Panorama’s episode jumps to unjustified conclusions from allegations that have already been fully investigated”.

“We have provided a detailed and comprehensive statement to Panorama, highlighting unequivocally how two Service Police operations carried out an extensive and independent investigation into allegations about the conduct of UK forces in Afghanistan.

“Neither investigation found sufficient evidence to prosecute.

“Insinuating otherwise is irresponsible, incorrect and puts our brave Armed Forces personnel at risk both in the field and reputationally.

“The Ministry of Defence of course stands open to considering any new evidence, there would be no obstruction.

“But in the absence of this, we strongly object to this subjective reporting.”

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A BBC source suggested that people waited to comment on the episode “once they have watched the investigation in full”.

A statement from the BBC added: “This is the culmination of a four-year investigation, which includes new evidence and eyewitness accounts, and is firmly in the public interest.

“The MoD’s position is reflected fully within the film.

“We stand by our journalism.”

Follow me on Twitter @JamesLee_DE for more stories like this



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