According to an analysis of official figures, the government has paid compensation for the deaths of 289 civilians, including at least 16 children, in Afghanistan.
A study of documents from the Ministry of the Interior shows that in total, £688,000 was paid by the British military for the death, an average of £2,380 per death.
The findings are from an analysis by the charity Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) and relate to 189 incident deaths between 2006 and 2013.
The charity said some £397,000 had been paid for 240 injuries, an average of £1,654.
The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said the UK had always sought to reduce the risk of civilian casualties through “rigorous targeting procedures”.
One family received £586.42 after the death of their 10-year-old son in December 2009 – other claimants received higher payments for damage to a crane and six donkeys.
In February 2008, just £104.17 was given to a family in Helmand province for a certain death and loss of property.
Most of the deaths occurred in Helmand, the scene of some fierce fighting involving the UK military, and were recorded in compensation payment data obtained under a Freedom of Information request.
In a December 2009 incident, the document listed four children as “shot to death by the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force)”, with £4,223.60 being paid in compensation a month later.
The youngest recorded casualty was a three-year-old boy, who was “shocked” to death in December 2009. [a] Controlled detonation during an operation to clear an improvised explosive device”.
The charity said the files recorded the deaths of 16 children, who either specify the age or describe the victims as “child”, “boy” or “girl”.
But by including cases that refer to the words “son”, “daughter” or “nephew” the true figure could be up to 86 as the population of Afghanistan with an average age of 18.4 – so one’s child is likely to be a minor. High.
AOAV report author Murray Jones said: “These files are not made for easy reading. The language restrictions mean hundreds of tragic deaths, including dozens of children, read more like a list.
“Unfortunately, given the way civilian casualties were recorded, these totals are likely to be a fraction of the true number.”
The amount of compensation paid is determined by common law principles that include factors such as financial loss as well as pain and suffering.
The settlements reflect local customs and practices as well as economic factors, and are in line with other countries, which provided forces for a 20-year Afghan campaign led by the United States, which took off from Kabul airport in August. The evacuation ended in chaotic fashion. .
A MoD spokesman said: “Every civilian death is a tragedy and the UK has always wanted to reduce the risk of civilian casualties through our rigorous targeting procedures, but that risk can never be completely removed.
“The amount of compensation paid is determined by legal principles that consider both the degree of injury and past and future damages; settlements also reflect local customs and practices.”
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /