Image ID 2GN1DE8 Silhouette of SAS Army Air Corps training officer on a military exercise 20092021 CREDIT Martin Hibberd,Alamy Stock Photo.jpg
The MOD says it has carried out 'extensive and independent' investigation into allegations about the conduct of UK forces in Afghanistan (Picture: Martin Hibberd/ Alamy Stock Photo).
Special forces

MOD: Armed Forces personnel put 'at risk' by BBC Panorama's 'unjustified conclusions'

Image ID 2GN1DE8 Silhouette of SAS Army Air Corps training officer on a military exercise 20092021 CREDIT Martin Hibberd,Alamy Stock Photo.jpg
The MOD says it has carried out 'extensive and independent' investigation into allegations about the conduct of UK forces in Afghanistan (Picture: Martin Hibberd/ Alamy Stock Photo).

Armed Forces personnel have been put "at risk both in the field and reputationally" by BBC Panorama's episode about SAS operations in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) says.

The MOD has put out a strong statement criticising "unjustified conclusions" in an upcoming hour-long documentary, called SAS Death Squads Exposed: A British War Crime?

It will focus on asking if some of the 'hundreds of people' killed on night raids by Special Forces in Afghanistan were, in fact, executions.

The BBC documentary accuses the SAS of executing detainees and murdering unarmed people in Afghanistan.

It claims to have found one unit killed 54 people in suspicious circumstances, and that senior officers did not disclose information to the military police.

Chris Green, a former British Army major, says the accusations are "very troubling" and is calling for a formal enquiry.

In a statement, the MOD said: "We believe that BBC Panorama's episode about SAS operations in Afghanistan, scheduled for broadcast Tuesday 12 July 2022, jumps to unjustified conclusions from allegations that have already been fully investigated."

The BBC programme bio reads: "British special forces killed hundreds of people on night raids in Afghanistan, but were some of the shootings executions? Richard Bilton uncovers new evidence and tracks down eyewitnesses."

The MOD has said it "provided a detailed and comprehensive statement to Panorama, highlighting unequivocally how two Service Police operations carried out an extensive and independent investigation into allegations about the conduct of UK forces in Afghanistan".

"Neither investigation found sufficient evidence to prosecute," said the MOD. "Insinuating otherwise is irresponsible, incorrect and puts our brave Armed Forces personnel at risk both in the field and reputationally," it added.

The MOD concluded its statement by reiterating that there would be "no obstruction" to considering any new evidence.

"The Ministry of Defence, of course, stands open to considering any new evidence, there would be no obstruction.

"We will always investigate allegations to the full, but our independent police and prosecutors can only act on the evidence before them," the MOD said.

The Special Air Service (SAS)

The Special Air Service (SAS) is a well-known, yet secretive, organisation.

There is a careful balance maintained, with the SAS recruiting high-calibre applicants from across the British military (although principally from the Army, and in particular the Paras) and its missions being of intense interest to the media.

However, the exact details of the operations, and those who perform them, do not usually become public until years later, if at all.

SAS personnel are highly trained and renowned for their skills in covert surveillance, close-combat fighting and hostage rescue.

The SAS was created during the Second World War when small bands of soldiers were dropped behind enemy lines in North Africa and Europe.

Since then they have been deployed in most of Britain's wars.