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Johnny Mercer MP ordered to provide Afghanistan evidence

Veterans' minister Johnny Mercer has been ordered to give evidence to a public inquiry relating to alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.

The Plymouth Moor View MP previously said he had received warnings allegations of war crimes by UK special forces may be true.

He would not name those who said the allegations were credible.

The BBC understands Mr Mercer has been served with a Section 21 notice under the Inquiries Act 2005.

Mr Mercer also refused to name the serving member of the Special Boat Service who he claimed told him he had been asked to carry a "drop weapon", which he said were non-Nato weapons carried by UK Special Forces units which could be planted on the body of someone killed during a mission, to falsely suggest the unarmed victim had posed a threat to British troops.

The Section 21 notice allows the chair of an inquiry, in this case Sir Charles Haddon-Cave who is running the Independent Inquiry relating to Afghanistan, to demand evidence relevant to its terms of reference.

There are limited circumstances under which Mr Mercer can claim it is not possible or reasonable to comply.

The inquiry is investigating whether British special forces killed civilians and unarmed people on night raids in Afghanistan between 2010 and 2013.

Previously in the inquiry, Mr Mercer refused to provide the names of those who had warned him there might be truth to allegations of extrajudicial killings, as well as the member of the SBS asked to carry a drop weapon.

He also repeatedly refused to answer whether he agreed that the member of the SBS had important evidence to share with the inquiry, responding only that "multiple people have important evidence".

"There are multiple people across these organisations who have knowledge of, for example, drop weapons," he said.

Mr Mercer has been contacted for a response.


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