An SAS soldier has been questioned over the alleged ‘execution’ of a suspected bomb-maker and three teenage boys during the war in Afghanistan, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
It is understood the experienced warrant officer has also been quizzed about a suspected cover-up involving the planting of evidence and doctoring of official documents, along with members of the elite team he led on the bungled raid in Helmand province in 2012.
Sources say the soldier – a member of G Squadron who served in Afghanistan and Iraq – was hauled before SAS commanders at the regiment’s base in Hereford last week but remains on active duty.
An SAS soldier has been questioned over the alleged ‘execution’ of a suspected bomb-maker and three teenage boys during the war in Afghanistan. Pictured: Still from a BBC Panorama documentary last month that identified apparent failings in the initial investigation
The dramatic development follows a BBC Panorama documentary last month that identified apparent failings in the initial Royal Military Police investigation into the killings of a suspected bomb-maker and three teenage boys.
An SAS source said: ‘The proverbial has hit the fan inside the SAS base in the past couple of weeks following the TV documentary.
‘Guys have been brought in to regimental headquarters for “interviews without coffee”.’
The probe centres on the hunt for a key Taliban bomb-maker in 2012, a year in which 44 British troops died in Helmand.
The SAS had been tasked with so-called ‘kill or capture’ raids, often under the cover of darkness, to disrupt the Taliban’s co-ordinated attacks, and intelligence reports identified Fazel Mohammed, a 20-year-old living in the rural area of Loy Bagh, as a target.
The SAS team, joined by soldiers from the Afghan National Army, swooped on the village at 8pm.
The warrant officer burst into a house where he is thought to have found Fazel sitting drinking tea with his brother Naik, 17, and two other boys – Ahmad Shad, 12, and Mohammed Tayeb, 14. He opened fire, killing all four instantly.
The experienced warrant officer, who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, was hauled before SAS commanders at the regiment’s base in Hereford last week but remains on active duty (stock image)
Sabbah Mohammed, the mother of Naik and Fazel, told Panorama: ‘The cups were full of blood. They had shot the boys in the head.’
Defence sources have claimed to The Mail on Sunday that the four were unarmed and that, in an attempt to justify the shootings, a pistol of the type used by Taliban commanders was placed next to the bodies.
Official reports also referred to the presence of the pistol at the scene and the warrant officer told the RMP – which investigated the case as part of Operation Northmoor that examined dozens of suspicious deaths involving Special Forces – that he had acted in self-defence because two of the four had weapons and the others appeared suddenly out of the shadows.
However, photographs of the scene obtained by Panorama show bullet holes in the wall just 2ft off the ground, supporting the family’s claim that the four were sitting down.
The RMP wanted the soldier to be charged with four counts of murder but the Army’s Service Prosecuting Authority refused.
Last night, the SAS source said: ‘Why the military police believed what they were told about the pistol is anyone’s guess.
‘The blokes would carry these pistols with them for precisely this purpose so when they shot someone who was unarmed they could make it look like they posed an immediate threat and ensure they weren’t investigated.
‘This tactic – known as using “drop weapons” – was well known.’
The Government announced in 2017 that Operation Northmoor, which cost £6 million, was to be wound down.
In the same year, The Mail on Sunday published an account of similar raids in Helmand by a recently retired SAS veteran of the Afghanistan campaign. In it, the soldier described illegal killings as ‘an unwritten rule of our job’.
Last night, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: ‘These claims have already been fully investigated and the independent prosecutors judged that no charges should be brought.’