army troops killed four innocent civilians, admits Burnham's MP
army officer and Burnham-On-Sea MP James Heappey has this week
revealed how his troops killed four innocent civilians in Afghanistan.
comes as he supports a brand new campaign to end the 'witch hunt'
against British soldiers.
Heappey said the decision made on that day in 2005 was necessary
to protect troops as he urged for the controversial Iraq Historical
Allegations Team (IHAT) to be shut down.
claims it is now only a matter of time before a soldier is killed
through hesitating in battle because of ambulance-chasing lawyers
who are hounding soldiers with spurious claims at the taxpayers
matter how much judgemental training is done and no matter how
much commanders encourage their troops to trust their instincts;
it will not be long before an 18 year old soldier hesitates over
pulling the trigger because a future run in with Leigh Day crosses
his mind at that instant. His enemy will not hesitate and the
outcome could be fatal," he said in a national newspaper
interview this week.
former officer revealed how his unit opened fire on a car that
was speeding towards their position as they were trying to secure
the area after two suicide bombers drove into German, Greek and
Heappey nearly died himself afterwards because the Taliban placed
bombs in the area they knew that troops would retreat back to
but it was detected by a sniffer dog.
was later revealed that the people killed in the car were four
civilians who were high on drugs and panicked when they saw military
vehicles in the area and wanted to speed away.
Mr Heappey argues that in the context of training and the events
of that day, it was reasonably to perceive the threat as real
and that not making that split-second decision could have led
to the death of dozens of troops.
added: "In the cold light of day, we killed some innocent
civilians that afternoon in Kabul. But in the context of the training
exercises wed done when vehicle borne IEDs were driven at
cordon positions; in the context of the ignored calls for them
to stop the car; in the context of the two suicide bombings that
had gone immediately before; the threat was perceived to be real,
immediate and lethal."
revelation comes as the bill for the controversial inquiry, set
up to investigate claims of wrongdoing on the battlefield, rises
to nearly £60million - the wage bill for around four infantry
battalions, according to Mr Heappey.
is expected to last until 2019 and taxpayers have been footing
the bill as lawyers from controversial firms such as Leigh Day
have made a fortune pursuing soldiers for alleged human rights
and former soldiers alike have condemned the inquiry, which led
to Sergeant Alexander Blackman being jailed for killing a dying
of his training, Mr Heappey added: "It was supposed to empower
us to defend ourselves and achieve our mission rather than to
constrain us and make us worry about the ambulance chasing lawyers
at Leigh Day."
former generals and war hero Lord Bramall this week called for
the inquiry to be wrapped up and warned the long-term impact of
relentless probes would be 'disastrous'.
damning verdicts follow a campaign to end a witch-hunt which has
seen hundreds of soldiers quizzed over their actions a decade
ago and dragged through repeated probes on one incident alone.
publicly on the issue for the first time, General Sir Michael
Rose, one of Britain's most respected generals and a former SAS
commander, told one national newspaper this week: "We should
bring a halt to these historic investigations. This includes those
relating to the counter-terrorist war fought against the IRA.
I therefore applaud the Mail's campaign."
Bramall, 92, one of the UK's most decorated military heroes
who was cleared of baseless paedophile allegations also
hit out at the witch-hunt.
field marshal said: "This witch-hunt culture is terribly
bad for the morale of the forces who have had to do their duty
under difficult circumstances."
Iraq Historical Allegations Team (Ihat) is investigating 1,668
claims of wrongdoing in a £57million probe expected to last
until the end of 2019. As well, Operation Northmoor, set up in
March 2014, is investigating more than 550 historic allegations
of war crimes in Afghanistan.
10 has refused to rule out that soldiers fighting in future wars
could be hounded in the same way and suggested Operation
Northmoor could roll on for years.
former generals and war hero Lord Bramall have called for an end
to the witch-hunt against British troops.
about future theatres of conflict and 'guarantees' troops wouldn't
be treated in the same way, a spokesman for Theresa May said:
"I can't predict what is going to happen in the future. I
am not going to be drawn on what we would be doing in the future
on battlefield cases."