Rogue SAS unit accused of executing civilians in Afghanistan

Seems like there’s some armchair generals among the ranks of journalists. I would have thought that if the SAS/SBS were involved with a specific set of targets, there was good reason for that. I don’t imagine they went on patrol, found an old bloke at a cafe and riddled him with fire, so much as found where Terry hangs out and slotted them.

Another thing - there’s some odd rules of warfare. You can (and really should) shoot descending paratroopers. But you can’t shoot parachute-descending downed aircrew.
That makes sense - paratroopers are on their way to attack, parachuting air crew have evacuated from the aircraft you hit.
They are to be captured as a prisoner, unless they fight back

You can’t randomly shoot enemy combatants,
I’m not up on rules of engagement, but you can shoot at enemy combatants.
The difference might be the ROE and what threat they are, particularly in countries where the locals may just carry an AK47. You then cannot confirm a combatant or an armed local, but if they start pointing their gun at you they begin to look like a

but you can target fast jet aircrew or senior officers and assassinate them.
Fast jet being a combatant
Seniors being suitable and ‘random’ combatants might be ROE
You can’t use chlorine gas against dug-in troops, but you can subject them to artillery barrage, strafing from aircraft, carpet bombing from aircraft and mortar or tank fire.
Chlorine gas being on the nasty weapons list, and artillery, bombing etc being ‘standard’ weapons of war
Part of the rules there to be around the escalation id

It’s pretty unfair to have a post-mortem from the coffee shops of London regarding the actions on the ground in war.
Correct - but it will happen
Holding to account should be in the context of the situation and not hindsight or in the peace of home

If something’s gone wrong and an individual or group of individuals crossed the line, then perhaps it should be a field Court Martial at the time, or file it under “NFA - exigencies of war”.
Not necessarily just at the time - it can only happen if it’s know about.
There shouldn’t be carte Blanche just for having got away with it for long enigh

It’s also unfair to train your Special Forces to go in hard and kill the enemy with overwhelming force, but then hamstring them with “but only if they’re carrying a weapon”.
They are ‘better’ and the elite, so should be able to make a better disciplined decision ..... in line with the ROE
How were the blokes storming the Embassy supposed to deal with those? The situation was out of control, the enemy were slotting hostages, so the SAS went in and killed them all but one - the intended solution. Were they supposed to ask if the kidnappers were armed? No of course not. Have some 9mm aspirins.
They shot the ones who were armed and didn’t shoot the unarmed ones - otherwise there would have been less hostages coming out
In every encounter they made a decision based on what they could see
If they had been going into a terrorist hideout then there would have been more shooting of those found inside, whereas the mission was to rescue hostages, so they had to think about every person they saw[/QUOTE]
 
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I wasn't having a pop at you.

But...

When I was taught to write news stories, I was taught that you encapsulate the whole story in a single paragraph. You then go on to elucidate more, according to the space you have. That might be half a dozen paragraphs or a whole broadsheet page in a major story.

The BBC story - which now seems to have gone from the front page - starts with two special forces officers meeting in a pub in Dorset and talking, with some concern, over allegations of murder.

It takes a good few paragraphs to get down to the point where the allegations are refuted as old ones which have been investigated already by Operation Northwood and four other independent inquiries.

A balanced first paragraph might have gone something along the lines of:

"Allegations of unlawful killings by UK Special Forces units have been dismissed as "old news" which has already been investigated on multiple occasions. Lawyers acting on behalf of the families of people killed during counter-terror raids in Afghanistan in 2016 claim that UK operatives were on several occasions guilty of shooting unarmed civilians. However, the MOD says that the incidents being referred to have already been investigated by one internal and four independent, external inquiries - with no charges resulting."

The newspaper story was even worse, with hyperbole about 'underground bunkers' and so on. I guess we have to protect the investigators from those 'rogue units', eh?

I'm not saying that there may not be anything to answer for - I know as much/little as most of us here. But where individuals' careers and reputations are at issue, sexing up the potentially mundane just for the sake of a splash story is a risky business. It is trial by media.
I would normally devour every sentence in a well written story about something like this.
I bought the Sunset times yesterday – this was 2 & 1/2 broadsheet pages of bollocks.
I skim read it, and saw nothing which engaged me.
 
The Royal Artillery have (had?) two TSMs per battery, as well as a BSM.
Could it be an RM thing as well. Isn't the senior RM NCO on a RN ship known as the 'Detachment Sergeant Major' even if he is just a sergeant? From WW2 until the early sixties RM Cdo's consisted of a number of fighting ' Troops' each of which would have had a 'Troop Sergeant Major'. Perhaps a hangover from that?
 

amech

Clanker
So we're capturing senior taliban commanders, searching them and then sending them, unrestrained, into uncleared buildings (where, presumably, they might find weapons) in order to open the curtains but thankfully the weapons always malfunction?
 
So we're capturing senior taliban commanders, searching them and then sending them, unrestrained, into uncleared buildings (where, presumably, they might find weapons) in order to open the curtains but thankfully the weapons always malfunction?
Or they get to the grenades, but never quite around to pulling the pin...
 

kimmi851

War Hero
So we're capturing senior taliban commanders, searching them and then sending them, unrestrained, into uncleared buildings (where, presumably, they might find weapons) in order to open the curtains but thankfully the weapons always malfunction?
For solicitors and Daily Mail reporters whose closest idea of the SAS is reading Tom Clancy whilst driving through Croydon with the doors locked - this obviously sounds plausible
 
For solicitors and Daily Mail reporters whose closest idea of the SAS is reading Tom Clancy whilst driving through Croydon with the doors locked - this obviously sounds plausible
And SAS Officers, WO and SNCOs.
 

amech

Clanker
Or they get to the grenades, but never quite around to pulling the pin...
I quote '..the man grabbed a grenade and threw it at them. Luckily it didn't go off but the man was shot'
We've all seen someone hold the grenade and throw the pin (in basic with dummies or even live like that Chinese video) but in 10 out of 33 killings the guy found a weapon and attacked the raiding party in 'clearly impossible odds' and no one was hurt before he was shot dead
Man, I wish I could get their lottery numbers!
 
I quote '..the man grabbed a grenade and threw it at them. Luckily it didn't go off but the man was shot'
We've all seen someone hold the grenade and throw the pin (in basic with dummies or even live like that Chinese video) but in 10 out of 33 killings the guy found a weapon and attacked the raiding party in 'clearly impossible odds' and no one was hurt before he was shot dead
Man, I wish I could get their lottery numbers!
That kind of luck only happens if you can walk across the Brecon Beacons at an average of 4kph.
 
And SAS Officers, WO and SNCOs.
How do you know that they are not SBS Officers, WO and SNCOs?

The original report from the BBC stated:

"At the height of the war in Afghanistan in 2011, two senior officers from Special Forces met in a bar in Dorset to have a secret conversation."

Which could suggest that DSF had a meeting with CO SBS. Otherwise the meeting would no doubt be held in Hereford.

The Daily Mail also states:


"In one note written on the day of the killings, an officer said he had had a 'very difficult' meeting with the colonel in charge of an Afghan partner unit (APU) about the incident.

The colonel brought along nine of his soldiers, one of whom was a relative of Saifullah's family and who gave assurances that the dead men were teachers and farmers, not Taliban supporters.

The meeting is thought to have become so heated an Afghan soldier drew his pistol and asked to shoot one of his mentors at the Special Boat Squadron (SBS) , the SAS's maritime regiment.

An SBS officer wrote: 'He [the colonel] repeatedly asked me to explain to the officer (present in the room) why his family had been first detained, and then killed by the British, particularly as there was no evidence.'

The colonel said his soldiers had reported that nobody had fired at the coalition forces, but the men 'were shot anyway'.

The officer's note added: 'He suggests that 2 men were shot trying to run away, and that the other 2 men were 'assassinated' on target after they had already been detained and searched.' "
 
What was the int like ? And where did it come from ?

If the orders and int assessment were flawed, then we're into a problem straight away.
 

MoleBath

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
So we're capturing senior taliban commanders, searching them and then sending them, unrestrained, into uncleared buildings (where, presumably, they might find weapons) in order to open the curtains but thankfully the weapons always malfunction?
Sounds Ok
 
What was the int like ? And where did it come from ?

If the orders and int assessment were flawed, then we're into a problem straight away.
Ah yes, that old syndrome of when things go amiss it's an int failure and when they go well it's an ops success.
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
What was the int like ? And where did it come from ?

If the orders and int assessment were flawed, then we're into a problem straight away.
LOAC applies even if the J2 is duff.
 
LOAC applies even if the J2 is duff.
It does indeed. However, if youre told people in a compound are terrorists and exceedingly dangerous, one will be a damn sight more likely to look for signs of offensive behaviour and possibly misinterpret them than if you were told no danger existed.
 
Ah yes, that old syndrome of when things go amiss it's an int failure and when they go well it's an ops success.
Int failures will generally guarantee things will go pete tong. It's not an excuse for murder but it can be a contributory factor.
A man identified as being Ahmed the teacher is less likely to be wantonly whacked than someone misidentified as Ahmed the bombmaker.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Int failures will generally guarantee things will go pete tong. It's not an excuse for murder but it can be a contributory factor.
A man identified as being Ahmed the teacher is less likely to be wantonly whacked than someone misidentified as Ahmed the bombmaker.
Chemistry teacher, you say?

Funny how all these people killed are just innocent guys going about their normal lives. The Hooligans will have rocked up for a reason.

I'm not saying that all is well - I wasn't there - but the press do seem to run, again and again, with the "Ahmed was just an ordinary man, with a family and hopes and dreams for the future, until one dark night a gang of government-sanctioned killers turned up..." narrative.

The families' words are taken as gospel.

There's a reason why, for instance, the POS Shiner was discredited.
 
Chemistry teacher, you say?

Funny how all these people killed are just innocent guys going about their normal lives. The Hooligans will have rocked up for a reason.

I'm not saying that all is well - I wasn't there - but the press do seem to run, again and again, with the "Ahmed was just an ordinary man, with a family and hopes and dreams for the future, until one dark night a gang of government-sanctioned killers turned up..." narrative.

The families' words are taken as gospel.

There's a reason why, for instance, the POS Shiner was discredited.
Ah, that presumes we knew what the **** we were doing in Helmand. Who told SF that Ahmed was a dangerous anti-government individual? Was it another tribe who had every reason in the world to have Ahmed removed from life? How much did we understand the human picture out there? I'd wager poor old Ahmed was likely a teacher unless the arch-angel Gabriel could tell me otherwise.

Oh, go and read Mike Martin's book to see exactly how the tribes of Helmand used TF Helmand as just another tool to continue their internecine bickering.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Ah, that presumes we knew what the **** we were doing in Helmand. Who told SF that Ahmed was a dangerous anti-government individual? Was it another tribe who had every reason in the world to have Ahmed removed from life? How much did we understand the human picture out there? I'd wager poor old Ahmed was likely a teacher unless the arch-angel Gabriel could tell me otherwise.

Oh, go and read Mike Martin's book to see exactly how the tribes of Helmand used TF Helmand as just another tool to continue their internecine bickering.
I reviewed the book for this website. I know exactly what you’re talking about and agree.
 

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