THE Ministry of Defence has denied accusations that authorities covered up killing and torture by UK troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Sunday Times newspaper revealed how leaked documents included claims that children had been targeted in some instances, and that the government and army acted to protect those involved.

SAS and Black Watch troops are amongst those implicated.

The documents are said to have come from inside the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT), which investigated alleged war crimes committed by British soldiers in Iraq, and Operation Northmoor, which covered Afghanistan.

The UK Government closed IHAT and Operation Northmoor in 2017 after Phil Shiner, a solicitor who had taken more than 1,000 cases to IHAT, was struck off from practising law amid allegations he had paid people in Iraq to find clients.

The new revelations follow an investigation by the Sunday Times and the BBC, which will air a Panorama documentary on the matter at 9pm on BBC One tonight.

Rachel Logan of Amnesty International UK called the claims “deeply troubling”, adding: “If true, those responsible for sanctioning and carrying out torture and other war crimes, at all levels, must be held accountable and where appropriate, prosecuted.

“Instead of consistently seeking to sweep these most serious of allegations under the carpet, Britain needs to stand up against torture, uphold its international commitments and show it treats these cases with the seriousness they deserve.”

SNP defence spokesperson Stewart Macdonald called for a judge-led independent inquiry, saying: “What is outlined in these reports represent gross violations of the Geneva Convention and attempts to cover up crimes of the worst possible kind.”

However, the MoD said: “Allegations that the MoD interfered with investigations or prosecution decisions relating to the conduct of UK forces in Iraq and Afghanistan are untrue.

“Throughout the process the decisions of prosecutors and the investigators have been independent of the MoD and involved external oversight and legal advice.

“Our military served with great courage and professionalism in Iraq and Afghanistan and we hold them to the highest standards. It is government policy that military operations are conducted in accordance with the Law of Armed Conflict” which strictly prohibits torture of any kind.