British soldiers were allowed to shoot unarmed civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq

The British army allowed its soldiers to shoot unarmed civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to an exclusive report by the Middle East Eye.

Ian Cobain who authored the report interviewed former British soldiers, who said they were given direct orders to shoot at civilians who were under surveillance.

This policy was justified under the premise that unarmed civilians were suspected of placing improvised explosive devices (IED’s) or acting as spotters for the insurgents.

However, soldiers still shot at innocent civilians without confirming if they posed an actual threat or were living their normal lives, more so because majority of the shootings were carried during night-time patrols.

The report stated that a soldier in southern Iraq claimed he and fellow British troops were permitted to shoot anyone who “acted suspiciously”.

This easing of the rules of engagement resulted in “a killing spree”, according to one former soldier, who mentioned that he and other soldiers were reassured they would be protected if there were any investigations by the military police.

The former soldier to the MEE: “Our commanders, they would tell us: ‘We will protect you if any investigation comes. Just say you genuinely thought your life was at risk – those words will protect you’.”

Another ex-soldier, who served in Basra in 2007, mentioned that he “had never seen such lawlessness”.

He said: “We were shooting old men, young men.

“Anyone you deem is a terrorist, you shoot them.

“But how could we know if they were a threat? Not all of them were dickers, some were just holding phones.”

In one incident, the ex-soldiers who were interviewed said they witnessed Soviet weapons being planted beside the bodies of two unarmed teenage boys who were killed by British troops in Afghanistan to make it seem like they were Taliban fighters.

Another former mentioned that he saw similar Soviet-era guns, known as “drop weapons”, being stored at other British bases.

He said: “I’m fairly sure that they were being kept for that purpose.”

Military legal experts said in the report that shooting “dickers” (English military slang for ‘spotters’) is not deemed illegal, as long as they are not physically engaged in hostilities. Civilians are still expected to be afforded the benefit of the doubt.

MEE were unable to independently verify the accounts of the former soldiers Cobain interviewed.

The Ministry of Defence declined to comment.

As you’re here…

5Pillars have one humble request from you…

Thousands of Muslims around the world visit our website for news every day. Due to the unfortunate reality of covering Muslim-related news in a heightened Islamophobic environment, our advertising and fundraising revenues have decreased significantly.

5Pillars is editorially and financially independent, with no sectarian or political allegiance to any particular group or movement. Our journalism has been exclusively grassroots focussed and our sole purpose is to defend Islam and Muslims in the media.

This makes us unique in comparison to other online Muslim media outlets who are neither independently regulated by a reputable body nor are they managed by qualified journalists.

Our journalism takes time, money and effort to deliver. But we do it because we believe we have a duty to Allah (swt).

You may not agree or like everything we publish. However, which other Muslim news site that is run by experienced journalists will take on the responsibility of being a shield for Islam and Muslims in the media?

If you follow 5Pillars, and you understand its importance in today’s climate, then please support us for as little as £5 a month, it only takes a minute to make a donation. Jazakallah khayran.

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:“The best deeds are those done regularly, even if they are small.” [Ibn Mājah]



Add your comments below