British army soldiers were given the permission to shoot unarmed civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan if they were holding a phone or a shovel, or were in any way acting “suspiciously”, according to an investigation by the Middle East Eye (MEE). The report, published on February 4, states that a number of children and teenage boys were also among those killed.
The British military constantly suspected unarmed civilians of keeping tabs on British soldiers to aid militants’ attacks, or plant roadside bombs on their routes. As a result, interviewed soldiers told MEE, the rules of engagement for British troops stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq were relaxed, giving way to a “killing spree”.
Soldiers also said that their seniors promised to protect them in case of any investigation by the military police. In the event that lethal force was used, the soldiers were advised that it was okay to say their lives were at risk as an excuse to gain immunity from prosecution and subsequent punishment.