On Christmas Eve, our SAS soldiers in Afghanistan killed two security guards, wounded two others, and arrested 15. None of these people was involved in any terrorist activity. Did the SAS act negligently or was it an unfortunate accident? The Kabul Police want to investigate but, in Afghanistan, our troops are above the law.
It started with a nighttime raid on a building next to the premises of Tiger International Armour in Kabul by the SAS in an attempt to foil a suspected attack on the US Embassy. The raid violated the rule that Afghani forces must lead operations in the capital city.
Tiger International Armour owner Nawid Shah Sakhizada describes what happened:
“When my guards come up into our room and said that this is Isaf firing, what shall we do. We just say that, OK, you are not allowed to fire, to shoot them. From the beginning our security guards did not fire on them,”
Eventually a senior Afghani commander convinced the SAS to stop shooting and apologise
“But I say apology is not enough. I told them, `You did not kill two cows. You killed two human beings’.”
“We want to have them punished and have them … let all people of Afghanistan know that these were innocent people who are dead and innocent people who were injured and the company was only businessmen and they were doing only their business.”
“But then the next day I saw on the news Nato said they had killed two terrorists and arrested all these people. It’s bullshit. Where is the evidence? Where are these people they arrested?”
The men killed by our SAS are Mohammad Sadiq and Abdul Mobin, both married with young children.
The Kabul Police want to prosecute with Mohammad Zaher, head of criminal investigations for the Kabul police, saying:
“When we arrived at the scene people were asking for help, but the foreigners were firing in all directions. We are demanding the punishment of those who were involved in this. They have proved nothing.”
Already an Afghani general has been detained and a colonel fired for their parts in this botch-up but the SAS soldiers, like all foreign troops, have impunity from Afghani law.
Apparently, Nato’s International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) will investigate but who has any faith in the military’s ability to police itself? Have we ever seen prosecutions for all those wedding parties that US drones have blown up? The path to justice for the families of Sadiq and Mobin is closed. It doesn’t have to be that way. In Northern Ireland, British troops were not above the law and every time they killed someone it was investigated by the police as a homicide.
We don’t know the full facts but it looks like the SAS made a hell of a mess of this. They should have more fire discipline. Kabul is a city full of civilians and armed guards – the SAS should know the difference between them and their enemy. That they appear to have fired first and kept on firing when the guards told them who they were looks very bad.
Whether their actions ought to amount to a crime or not, we should all be very uneasy with the fact that our soldiers in Afghanistan have carte blanche to kill whomever they want in our name.