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The SAS blocked Afghan special forces who fought alongside them from seeking refuge in the UK amid fears of an attempted war crimes cover up


  • Hundreds who were eligible under Afghan Relocation scheme were left behind

The SAS blocked Afghans who fought alongside them from seeking refuge in the UK amid fears of an attempted war crimes cover up.

Leaked documents reveal soldiers had their applications for relocation rejected by the Special Forces despite having compelling evidence of serving with the British military.

Members of the Afghan Special Forces units CF 333 and ATF 444 – dubbed the Triples – fought alongside the SAS in some of the most dangerous campaigns of the conflict. 

Some had reportedly complained about witnessing alleged war crimes committed by the UK elite regiment.

Hundreds who were eligible under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (Arap) scheme have been left behind, with many being beaten, tortured or killed by the Taliban

Members of the Afghan Special Forces units CF 333 and ATF 444 – dubbed the Triples – fought alongside the SAS in some of the most dangerous campaigns of the conflict (File image)

Members of the Afghan Special Forces units CF 333 and ATF 444 – dubbed the Triples – fought alongside the SAS in some of the most dangerous campaigns of the conflict (File image)

Armed Forces minister James Heappey has announced a review of 2,000 applications after admitting the process behind some rejections was ‘not robust’.

A leaked Standard Operating Procedures document shows that since at least 2023 all Triples applications which met a basic threshold were sent to Special Forces for approval or denial. 

The papers, obtained by investigative newsroom Lighthouse Reports and shared with the BBC‘s Panorama, reveal that if the SAS rejected sponsorship, the application was automatically blocked.

Panorama has also seen leaked internal Ministry of Defence emails describing civil servants being unable to challenge these rejections. 

It gave the regiment power over applications at a time when a public inquiry was investigating claims of SAS war crimes.

A former SAS officer told the BBC: ‘At best it’s not appropriate, at worst it looks like they’re trying to cover their tracks.’ 

Leaked documents reveal soldiers had their applications for relocation rejected by the Special Forces (stock image)

Leaked documents reveal soldiers had their applications for relocation rejected by the Special Forces (stock image)

If the Triples were in the UK they could be asked by the inquiry to provide potentially damning evidence.

Lawyers for Triples members said there appeared to be a recent ‘blanket policy’ of blocking applications. 

The MoD said all final decision are made by Arap caseworkers and require ministerial approval.

The Mail’s Betrayal of the Brave campaign fights for Afghans who risked their lives beside UK forces to be granted sanctuary in Britain.



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