AN SNP MP has called for an “Australia-style independent inquiry” into allegations that SAS troops killed detainees and unarmed men in Afghanistan.

SNP defence spokesman Stewart Malcolm McDonald (Glasgow South) raised claims revealed through a joint investigation by BBC’s Panorma and The Times.

The documentary claimed that special forces soldiers were allegedly involved in 54 suspicious killings during a six-month tour of Afghanistan in 2010-11.

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It also claimed that senior officers, including former head of the British Army General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, did not report the alleged murders and did not disclose the evidence held by UK Special Forces to the military police.

Raising the issue in the House of Commons, McDonald said: “Last night’s Panorama with the joint investigation with the Times newspaper has exposed yet again more evidence of unlawful killings by Special Forces, this time in Afghanistan.

“When this came up before, the Government and in particular the MoD (Ministry of Defence) was determined to sweep this under the carpet. But those who serve in uniform and the public they protect deserve better than this.

“These aren’t vexatious claims from campaigning lawyers, they come from within the armed forces themselves, and indeed our allies in Australia.”

He added: “So, will the Prime Minister commit to an Australia-style independent inquiry as backed by General Lord Richards, but more broadly, hasn’t the case be made again for democratic oversight of special forces?”

The Australian government launched an investigation into similar claims regarding war crimes committed by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016. The Brereton Report, as it became known, found evidence of 39 murders of civilians and prisoners by Australian special forces, which were subsequently covered up by the ADF.

The Prime Minister replied: “It’s a long-standing practice I think accepted on both sides of this House that we do not comment on Special Forces, and that does not mean that we in any way accept the factual accuracy of the claims to which he has eluded.

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“On the other hand, nor does it mean that anybody who serves in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces is above the law.”

After Johnson had finished, Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle added: “Can I just warn other members that there is a subjudice on this.

“I allowed that question because it was very general and that’s the only way I’d ever allow it.”

British units deployed to Afghanistan had been tasked with targeting Taliban leaders and the bomb-making networks causing frequent casualties using improvised explosive devices, Panorama said.

From 2009 onwards, the SAS conducted hundreds of raids on suspected Taliban targets to arrest key insurgency leaders and those involved in bomb-making networks.

However, Panorama reported that intelligence flaws meant innocent civilians were caught up in the operations.

The National: McDonald called for an 'Australia-style' investigation to the claims made in the Panorama documentaryMcDonald called for an 'Australia-style' investigation to the claims made in the Panorama documentary

One man who attended meetings in 2011 where targets were selected told the programme: “There were mistakes at every single level, serious mistakes – serious organisational mistakes.

“The scope for misidentification was so high in Afghanistan because we didn’t understand the villages. We didn’t understand the tribes. And therefore, the sausage machine that is producing these names is going to make tons and tons and tons of mistakes.”

Sources within UK Special Forces reportedly told Panorama that senior officers at headquarters in London were worried about the number of people being killed during the raids.

Panorama also said it has seen internal documents showing alarm at the SAS accounts of killings, with often many more people dead than weapons reportedly recovered.