Britain pays 1.5m dollars in compensation to Afghans

3rd October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Britain has paid 1.5 million dollars to Afghans this year in compensation for deaths, injuries and damaged property, official figures showed Sunday.

British forces have agreed to pay 1,463,653.50 dollars to settle claims made between January and mid-August this year, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.

The money included 161,550 dollars paid to the families of at least 35 civilians killed by NATO operations in Afghanistan.

Claims relating to 17 further locals are still under investigation.

Most of the compensation was for damage to crops and dwellings.

"When compensation claims are received by the MoD they are considered on the basis of whether or not there is a legal liability to pay compensation," a ministry spokesman said.

"In some cases, where there is a major threat to the stabilisation effort and it is impossible to form a view on strict legal liability, ex-gratia payments may be made for personal loss, injury or death."

The largest payout was 32,000 dollars, which went to a family that saw two brothers and two sons killed in a missile strike in the Babaji district of the restive southern Helmand province in December 2009.

A man whose wife and son were killed and his mother injured in February last year received 9,000 dollars. Mortar fire in Nad-e-Ali, Helmand, caused a wall to collapse on them.

Other large payouts went to farmers who were told they could not grow crops so troops on sentry duty at NATO patrol bases had a clear view of the surrounding area.

Britain has around 9,500 troops in Afghanistan, largely battling Taliban insurgents in Helmand.

Some 338 British troops have died since operations began in October 2001.

© 2010 AFP

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