MoD paid £3,000 compensation for Afghans killed by UK military

Rights groups claim payouts are pitifully low and do not give families sufficient help

The families of almost 200 innocent victims of British military activity in Afghanistan have been compensated with barely £3,000 each, the Government has revealed.

The Ministry of Defence has paid out £563,000 to settle “common law claims” arising from the deaths of 185 civilian men, women and children since 2007, according to figures obtained by The Independent. The “fatality claims” include the deaths of Afghan civilians in botched air-strikes, crossfire and road accidents involving British forces who have been fighting the Taliban for more than a decade.

Over the past seven years, officials have sanctioned compensation totalling almost £340,000 to settle 194 cases where civilians were accidentally injured by British forces – at an average of £1,750 a time. The MoD said on Sunday night that civilians making claims were treated “with no lower priority than UK Armed Forces personnel”.

But pressure groups claimed the size of payments for people who had sometimes lost a breadwinner or their entire family was pitifully low – far less than the amounts paid to UK troops injured in combat in Afghanistan, for whom the average payout was £73,000.

“It has been clear all along that compensation payments for harm to Afghan civilians have been low, inconsistent and ad hoc,” said Heather Barr, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch in Afghanistan. “Afghan families often rely on one or two members to support a large extended family. Should the civilian killed be such a breadwinner, £3,000 would do no more than hold off destitution for the family for a year or two.”

The number of ordinary Afghans harmed in the battle with the Taliban continues to rise, despite preparations for the withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan within 18 months. A report from the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (Unama) last month revealed that 1,319 Afghan civilians were killed and 2,533 injured in the first six months of 2013 – 23 per cent more than in the same period last year.

Most of these casualties were caused by improvised explosive devices, suicide bombings and “complex attacks”. “Pro-government forces” – including Afghan army and police, and international troops – were blamed for 9 per cent of the casualties, while 12 per cent were unattributed and resulted from ground engagements between pro-government forces and “anti-government elements”.

Unama recorded 49 civilian deaths and 41 injuries from air strikes by pro-government forces, 30 per cent less than in 2012, but it raised concerns over “the disproportionate loss of civilian life and injury” from two air strikes in the spring.

The report also recorded 15 civilian deaths and seven injuries in seven incidents involving unmanned aerial vehicles which had “appeared to target anti-government elements”.

An MoD spokesman said civilian claims were considered against “an agreed set of criteria”, including the victim’s contribution to the family income, the severity of any injuries, and their “culpability or involvement with insurgents”.

He added: “Cases are considered and justified on their merit… There is an effective system for handling claims for compensation brought against the Ministry of Defence by Afghan civilians and we have an area claims officer located in Lashkar Gah.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Taste the difference: Nell Frizzell tucks into a fry-up in Jesse's cafe in east London
food + drinkHow a bike accident left one woman living in a distorted world in which spices smell of old socks and muesli tastes like pork fat
Sport
Luke Shaw’s performance in the derby will be key to how his Manchester United side get on
footballIt's not a game to lose, writes Paul Scholes
Arts and Entertainment
Don’t send in the clowns: masks and make-up conceal true facial expressions, thwarting our instinct to read people’s minds through their faces, as seen in ‘It’
filmThis Halloween, we ask what makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?
News
peopleFarage challenges 'liberally biased' comedians to 'call him a narcissist'
Arts and Entertainment
Liam and Zayn of One Direction play with a chimpanzee on the set of their new video for 'Steal My Girl'
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Early Years Teacher - Jan 2015 - China

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Position: Early Years TeacherRequired: J...

KS1 and KS2 Primary NQT Job in Lancaster Area

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education is urgently...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

Primary Teachers required - Cardiff and the Vale

£95 - £105 per day + plus free travel scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: KS1 ...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes