Government announces inquiry into allegations SAS killed Afghan civilians – BBC

Ministers have announced an inquiry into allegations SAS soldiers murdered scores of unarmed people during night raids in Afghanistan.
Defence minister Andrew Murrison said the inquiry would have statutory powers to compel witnesses to give evidence.
The government previously said a review would only examine the way the allegations had been handled.
It follows BBC Panorama revelations, in July, that one SAS unit killed 54 people in suspicious circumstances.
Mr Murrison's statement to Parliament came a day after the BBC published a follow-up investigation into a 2012 raid, on which British special forces killed four people – including a woman – and shot two infant boys.
Mr Murrison said that the inquiry would "investigate and report on alleged unlawful activity by British Armed Forces" and "the adequacy of subsequent investigations into such allegations".
He said the inquiry would look specifically at special forces raids known as Deliberate Detention Operations (DDOs) which took place between mid-2010 and mid-2013.
The announcement of an independent statutory inquiry – as opposed to the review proposed by the government earlier this year – expands the scope and powers available to the judge leading it. The minister said the inquiry would be chaired by Lord Justice Hadden Cave.
In his statement, Mr Murrison referenced two cases brought against the Ministry of Defence by family members of people killed in DDO raids.
Responding to Thursday's announcement, representatives for the Saifullah and Noorzai families welcomed the expanded statutory inquiry.
"I did not ever think this would happen," said a member of the Saifullah family. "I am extremely happy that there are people who value the loss of life of my family, of Afghans, enough to investigate."
A member of the Noorzai family said: "My family has waited 10 years to find out why this happened. We are happy that finally, after so many years, someone is going to investigate this thoroughly."
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said there had already been "several comprehensive investigations into the events in question".
He added: "If there are further lessons to learn, it is right that we consider those fully to ensure all allegations are handled appropriately and in equal measure to ensure our personnel are adequately protected from unnecessary reinvestigations."
Labour's shadow defence secretary, John Healey, told the BBC he welcomed the special inquiry, saying it was "essential to protect the reputation of our British special forces, guarantee the integrity of military investigations, and secure justice for any of those affected".
Speaking in the Commons, he said the "allegations of unlawful killings and cover ups could not be more serious" and questioned whether the MoD was "fully committed" to making the inquiry succeed.
"Too often, the MoD responds with denial and delay," he said.
The Royal Military Police (RMP), which investigates misconduct by the Armed Forces, undertook several investigations between 2010 and 2019 into allegations that UK Special Forces murdered unarmed people, including children, in Afghanistan.
The Ministry of Defence said the investigations had not found enough evidence to prosecute anyone.
But documents cited in court earlier this year revealed there were significant concerns within the Armed Forces that a number of the RMP investigations were flawed.
The minister said the inquiry would "begin in earnest" in early 2023.
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