(PatriotWise.com) — The independent inquiry into claims that UK special forces units in Afghanistan unlawfully killed more than 80 Afghans during counterinsurgency operations in the early 2010s opened in London on Monday, the Associated Press reported.
The inquiry, which will also look into allegations that military authorities may have covered up the murders or failed to properly investigate them, will focus on killings that occurred during night raids carried out by special forces units in Afghanistan between 2010 and 2013.
The families of the men killed claim that they were unarmed civilians. In one case, the family members claim that nine men were shot and killed while in their beds. The British military has maintained that soldiers killed the men in self-defense.
The inquiry is expected to review submissions made on behalf of the families of 33 Afghans, including eight children, who were killed by special forces.
Lawyer Tessa Gregory, whose law firm Leigh Day is representing the families, said the families hope that the inquiry will mark the end of “the wall of silence and obstruction” they have faced for the last decade.
Leigh Day contends that over 80 Afghans were killed between 2010 and 2013 at the hands of UK special forces under “suspicious” circumstances. The firm argues that the killings were part of a “widespread and systemic pattern of unlawful extrajudicial killings.”
The inquiry, which was ordered in 2022 after some of the families filed lawsuits against the British government, will review two prior investigations by the Royal Military Police, which resulted in no prosecutions.
After an investigative report about the killings aired on the BBC last year, the UK Ministry of Defense cited the lack of evidence from the two RMP investigations and said the broadcaster was “irresponsible and incorrect” to report on the families’ allegations.
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