Monday, November 29

Revealed: UK Forces Linked to Death of Nearly 300 Afghan Civilians | Military

British forces are linked to the deaths of 86 children and more than 200 adult civilians during the Afghanistan conflict, with compensation of just £ 2,380 paid on average for each life lost, new figures reveal.

They are recorded in the official compensation records of the Ministry of Defense (MoD), obtained through a series of freedom of information requests. According to the data, the youngest civilian victim on record was three years old.

One of the most serious incidents on record is the award of £ 4,233.60 to a family following the deaths of four children who were mistakenly “shot to death” in an incident in December 2009.

Some of the payments amounted to less than a few hundred pounds. In February 2008, one family received £ 104.17 after a confirmed death and property damage in Helmand province, while another received £ 586.42 for the death of their 10-year-old son in December 2009.

The data was compiled by Action against gun violence (AOAV), which examined the records to coincide with the withdrawal of Western forces from Afghanistan last month that culminated in the chaotic airlift from Kabul airport.

There is a renewed focus on civilian casualties in Afghanistan after the US. forced to admit that a drone attack last month killed 10 civilians, including seven children, and not militants from the Islamic State of Khorasan (ISKP) province, as was first claimed.

A “terrible mistake” was made, said Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, commander of the US Central Command, offering his “deepest condolences to the family and friends of those killed.”

In British records, many of the incidents are only briefly recorded. Murray Jones, author of the research, said: “These files are not easy to read. The banality of the language means hundreds of tragic deaths, including dozens of children, it reads more like an inventory. “

AOAV estimates that 20,390 civilians were killed or wounded by international and Afghan forces during the 20-year conflict, though that’s one-third the number killed by the Taliban and other insurgents. A total of 457 British soldiers also died during the period.

Overall, compensation records show that the UK Army paid £ 688,000 for incidents involving 289 deaths between 2006 and 2013, the last year of British combat operations in the country, meaning that the average compensation paid for the Ministry of Defense per civilian killed was £ 2,380.

The payments recorded also refer to operations involving the SAS, which has been accused of being involved in the execution of civilians during the conflict. The family of three Afghan farmers allegedly killed in cold blood in 2012 received £ 3,634 three weeks after the incident. The records describe the money as an “attendance payment that must be made to calm the local atmosphere. [sic]”.

In some cases, payments for property damage were higher than those for loss of life. During 2009-10, the Ministry of Defense awarded £ 873 compensation for a damaged crane and £ 662 for the death of six donkeys “while roaming the firing range”.

Payment data is one of the few ways to establish how many civilians are likely to have been killed by British forces in Afghanistan, as the Defense Ministry has said in response to other freedom of information requests that has no figure centrally.

British officials say that efforts are routinely made to minimize the impact of military operations on the civilian population. But in other contexts, the UK has only admitted to a limited extent: the Defense Ministry says there has been a civilian casualty during the RAF’s bombing campaign in Syria and Iraq against the Islamic State for more than 10,000 missions since August. 2014.

A spokesman for the Defense Ministry said that the amount of compensation paid in each case was determined by a combination of legal principles and local customs and practices. “Every civilian death is a tragedy and the UK always seeks to minimize the risk of civilian casualties through our rigorous targeting processes, but that risk can never be completely eliminated,” they added.

The Defense Ministry has previously said that it has reviewed allegations of SAS involvement in extrajudicial killings and said there was “insufficient evidence for prosecution.”

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