SAS Afghan murder probe ‘yielding results’

An independent inquiry into allegations British troops unlawfully killed Afghan civilians is gathering pace, its chairman said today. Lord Justice Charles Haddon-Cave announced at the first public hearing that “a growing number of individuals are already coming forward, with significant information”. He said his call for evidence, made at a press conference in March, “is […]

Read more »

The UK’s 83 military interventions around the world since 1945

The British military has used or threatened to use military force much more in the postwar world than is conventionally remembered or believed. Declassified has documented 83 interventions by the UK armed forces since 1945, in 47 different countries. The most striking of the British uses of force have been the overt invasions or armed […]

Read more »
Archeologists excavating Buddhist relics in 2011 before the Mes Aynak copper mine was due to open (Photo: Jerome Starkey / Creative Commons)

Britain and Australia’s resource grab in Afghanistan

A little-known aspect of the disastrous Western occupation of Afghanistan was that UK and Australian companies sought to access the country’s $3 trillion worth of untapped minerals – with little regard for the welfare of Afghans.

Read more »
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar (black turban) with Ahmed Shah Massoud on his right at peace talks in 1992 (Photo: Sami Zubeiri / AFP via Getty)

To charm ‘seriously evil’ warlord, Foreign Office overlooked journalist’s murder

Andy Skrzypkowiak was filming the Soviet Union’s occupation of Afghanistan for the BBC when he went missing in October 1987. The 36-year-old SAS veteran, raised in Britain by Polish parents, was later pronounced dead. His skull had been crushed with a rock as he slept. He left behind a wife and young daughter. The killers […]

Read more »
Australian naval commanders and assistant defence minister Andrew Hastie welcome a UK nuclear-powered submarine to Perth. (Photo: RAN / Richard Cordell)

Partners in crimes? The UK/Australia special relationship

Australia’s independence from Britain has been contested ground since the nation’s birth in 1901 – the first real test being Australia’s decision to send troops to Europe for Britain’s war with Germany in 1914.  Two bitterly fought referenda to allow military conscription were narrowly defeated – Australia’s contribution to the Great War was to remain […]

Read more »
A British soldier rests at a base in Helmand, Afghanistan, 2007 (Photo: Marco Di Lauro / Getty)

Shame, confusion, betrayal: UK veterans on the war in Afghanistan

Since the official end of UK combat operations in 2014, the Afghanistan war has felt like a forgotten chapter of recent British history – at least for veterans of the conflict.  Only in recent weeks, as the two decades-long occupation finally collapsed into a chaotic withdrawal, has the country fought over by a generation of […]

Read more »
Yunus Khales with President Ronald Reagan at the White House on 12 November 1987 (Photo: Dirck Halstead / Getty Images)

MI6 helped Bin Laden ally get medical treatment

When Osama Bin Laden fled Afghanistan after 9/11, an old friend helped him escape the US manhunt. Yunus Khales, the veteran commander of Afghan mujahideen group Hezbi Islami (Islamic Party), had long supported Al Qaeda’s leader.  In 1996, when Bin Laden was expelled from Sudan, it was Khales who welcomed him to Afghanistan, giving him […]

Read more »

Britain supported Pakistan as it helped the Taliban kill UK troops

Last week, British foreign secretary Dominic Raab made his first trip to Pakistan after the botched withdrawal of troops and civilians from neighbouring Afghanistan in August. Raab described Pakistan as a “vital partner” as he sought with his Pakistani counterpart to “prevent Afghanistan becoming a hub for terrorist groups.” Yet known to the British Foreign […]

Read more »
Margaret Thatcher receives Prime Minister of Pakistan Zia Ul-Haq at 10 Downing Street in London on October 6, 1980, UK.

Margaret Thatcher’s support for Afghan jihadists covered up by UK censors

Thatcher’s Downing Street dossier on “Aid to the Afghanistan resistance movement” is being retained by Whitehall’s Cabinet Office despite becoming eligible for release to the National Archives under the thirty year rule. Thatcher’s team compiled the file from July 1981 to January 1990 during her time as prime minister when she oversaw a decade of […]

Read more »
British intelligence backed Afghan mujahideen from Jamiati Islami in the 1980s.

How MI6 backed ‘right-wing religious fanatics’ in Afghanistan

In 1980, journalist John Fullerton sat down for lunch in London with members of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), better known as MI6. The spooks asked the restless reporter to name five cities where he would like to work. He scrawled the answers unhesitatingly on a paper napkin. “The top one was Peshawar in Pakistan,” […]

Read more »

Britain in Afghanistan: Unprepared then, unprepared now

“Hindsight is a wonderful thing,” uttered Dominic Raab, Britain’s foreign secretary, as he tried to excuse himself for being on holiday as the Taliban were taking over Afghanistan. General Nick Carter echoed him, saying “hindsight is an extraordinary thing”. Foresight would have been helpful. It should not have been too difficult. Kabul had become MI6’s biggest foreign station during […]

Read more »

Four failed wars must finally force the UK to adopt an ethical foreign policy

“We have no eternal allies and we have no perpetual enemies,” Lord Palmerston famously told the British parliament when he was foreign secretary in 1848. Over a century and a half later, during the so-called war on terror, Britain has abided by Palmerston’s morally ambiguous approach towards international relations, with disastrous results.  The head of […]

Read more »

Afghan refugees have asked for sanctuary for a long time — only now do we listen

It was a freezing November day in France 2010 when an Afghan boy approached a parked truck in Calais and showed me how he spent each night climbing under lorries in a bid to slip undetected into the UK. His clandestine travel method was not as suicidal as clinging to the outside of a US […]

Read more »

The UK military’s secrecy problem

A new book, revealing abuses by the British army in its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, illustrates how the Ministry of Defence and the military establishment try to censor, bully and threaten publishers and journalists, often successfully.

Read more »

Britain’s seven covert wars: An Explainer

The United Kingdom is fighting at least seven covert wars

Read more »