British Special Forces in Afghanistan: New Allegations

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:35 am on 14th July 2022.

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Photo of Carol Monaghan Carol Monaghan Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Armed Forces and Veterans), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Education) 10:35 am, 14th July 2022

The overwhelming majority of those who serve in the armed forces do so with honour and courage, and we are rightly proud of their service, but by defending or failing to investigate properly the bad eggs that exist we tarnish everyone’s reputation. The “Panorama” programme should concern us all, especially since these accounts were given by those within the armed forces themselves. The documentary described “kill or capture” night raids, the systematic killing of detainees and unarmed civilians, planted weapons, competitions between squadrons on the numbers killed, and cover-ups by senior officers. If senior officers knew of such behaviour, why was no action taken? If they did not know, why not?

The Ministry of Defence has so far treated the allegations with some flippancy, saying the documentary “jumps to unjustified conclusions”. The House needs an assurance that the review of this material will be carried out by an independent investigator. Flaws in the investigatory process and potential cover-ups by senior officers should be included. There must be democratic oversight of our special forces, and I would appreciate the Minister’s reassurance that this is something he is considering. Finally, how is the MOD investigating failures in the chain of command?