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British Army chief backs inquiry into Special Forces’ allegations in Afghanistan; new post to address inquiry’s findings established

British Army, General Sir Patrick Sanders, Special Forces, Afghanistan, unlawful killings, independent inquiry, transparency, rule of law, democracy, Major General Alex Taylor, Army Legal Services, accountability, military ethics, 2010-2013 Afghanistan operations, justice in armed forces.
General Sir Patrick Sanders

The head of the British Army, General Sir Patrick Sanders, has issued a strong statement of support for the ongoing independent inquiry into alleged unlawful killings by Special Forces in Afghanistan between 2010 and 2013. The inquiry is set to investigate claims that Special Forces soldiers may have executed males of fighting age who posed no threat during this period.

General Sanders emphasised the gravity of the matter in a letter addressed to both serving personnel and veterans. He stated, “Where serious allegations of this nature are made, it is important that they are looked into thoroughly and independently.”

He reinforced this stance by declaring his full cooperation and support for the inquiry and expected the same level of commitment throughout the Chain of Command.

Highlighting the democratic values and the rule of law that the Army upholds, General Sanders clarified that the inquiry would have access to all evidence, regardless of its classification. He encouraged anyone with relevant information to contact the inquiry directly, ensuring complete independence from the Army hierarchy in this process.

In preparation for the inquiry, a new position, Director Afghanistan Inquiry Response (Army), has been established. Major General Alex Taylor CB, currently serving as the director of the Army Legal Services, is set to assume this role in January 2024.

The inquiry, led by a judge, will provide various protections to those who engage with it, ensuring a fair and thorough investigation process. This move signifies a strong commitment to transparency and accountability within the British Army.

Dr. Iain Overton from Action on Armed Violence commented on the inquiry, highlighting its significance. He stated, “This inquiry is a critical step in addressing the grave allegations against the Special Forces. It reflects the Army’s commitment to justice and the rule of law. The independent investigation will not only bring clarity to these accusations but also reinforce the principles that the armed forces stand for.”

AOAV has been instrumental in pushing the British military to addressing allegations of historic harm, outlined in its report Killing In The Shadows.

The British Army’s support for this inquiry marks a pivotal moment in its commitment to upholding justice and ethical conduct in military operations.