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Gov’t Officials Hid Evidence Of British Special Forces Allegedly Massacring Afghan Civilians: REPORT

British military officials allegedly attempted to cover up killings of unarmed Afghan civilians during raids in 2010 and 2011, a BBC investigation revealed Tuesday.

A British Special Air Service (SAS) assault unit, part of an elite division of the British Army, reportedly slaughtered 54 Afghans during one six-month tour in Afghanistan, according to military reports leaked to the BBC. Witnesses claimed that those attacked were unarmed and defenseless, countering the official SAS narrative that troops were forced to fire after detainees brandished weapons.

“Too many people were being killed on night raids and the explanations didn’t make sense,” a senior military officer told the BBC. “Once somebody is detained, they shouldn’t end up dead.”

The SAS also planted AK-47 assault rifles at the location of the scene to make it appear as if the victims were active combatants, according to the BBC. Killings reportedly occurred in at least 11 separate incidents.

The frequency at which SAS records reported captured Afghans suddenly threatening British troops with guns and grenades, as well as qualities of bullet holes in buildings where the raids were conducted, tipped investigators that the SAS may have fabricated records, according to the BBC.

“It was also indicated that fighting-age males were being executed on target inside compounds, using a variety of methods after they had been restrained. In one case it was mentioned a pillow was put over the head of an individual being killed with a pistol,” an unnamed official said at a hearing before the British high court.

The “kill or capture” raids occurred in Helmand province, where the Taliban had a military edge, according to the BBC. British officials told the BBC that rushed intelligence gathering on Taliban locations could have resulted in civilians being placed on target lists.

Although British military officials suspected foul play at the time, they allegedly declined to report it to the proper authorities, according to the BBC.

The Royal Military Police later investigated the SAS squadron, but former head of UK Special Forces General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith reportedly withheld evidence of the killings from the police by placing it in a highly classified file containing “anecdotal information about extrajudicial killings.”

The British Ministry of Defense denied criminal conduct by the SAS forces and requested to review the BBC’s investigation before it was published Tuesday, according to The Guardian.

SAS forces “served with courage and professionalism,” a spokesman for the British Ministry of Defence told the BBC, adding that soldiers adhered to the “highest standards.”

The BBC previously reported on an alleged SAS raid that led to a court case and an order to disclose records on how the UK government addressed night raids.

The UK Ministry of Defense and the British Army could not be reached for comment.

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