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Report: Britain paid compensation for nearly 300 Afghan civilian deaths

Report: Britain paid compensation for nearly 300 Afghan civilian deaths
The British government paid $944,348 in compensation for the deaths of 86 children and 203 adult civilians at the hands of British forces in Afghanistan, according to a report released Thursday. File Photo by Hedayatullah Amid/EPA-EFE

Sept. 23 (UPI) -- Britain paid out nearly $1 million in compensation for almost 300 civilian deaths during the conflict in Afghanistan, according to an analysis of government documents released Thursday.

Throughout Britain's presence in Afghanistan from 2006 to 2013, forces paid $944,348.80 in compensation for the deaths of at least 86 children and 203 adult civilians, according to Ministry of Defense compensation logs obtained by London-based charity Action on Armed Violence, or AOAV.

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The British government paid out an average of $3,266 per life lost, although AOAV noted some of the payments were combined with injuries and property damage so the average is "somewhat inflated."

In one of the most substantial payments the government paid $5,811.23 to a family after their four children were mistakenly shot and killed in December 2009.

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During the same month, a 3-year-old child was killed by shock from a controlled explosion, marking the youngest recorded casualty.

AOAV noted that compensation payments were "highly inconsistent" as one family received $804.79 for the death of their 10-year-old son in December 2009 and another family was given $142.96 for a confirmed fatality and property damage in Helmand province.

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In some instances, the government paid out more to Afghans for damage to property and animals than the loss of human life.

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AOAV noted that there were 106 instances involving property in the 2009-10 fiscal year that exceeded the amount paid to the 10-year-old or the unnamed 2008 casualty including $908 paid as compensation for the death of six donkeys "when they wandered on to the rifle range."

Most of the deaths that led to compensation occurred in the Helmand province and payments stating that Afghan or U.S. military were responsible for the deaths were not included in the figures provided by the charity.

At least 20,930 civilians were killed or injured by international and Afghan forces, including roughly one-third caused by the Taliban and other anti-government forces, from 2007 to 2020, according to AOAV analysis of reports by the United Nations. Additionally, AOAV reported that 457 British soldiers were killed from 2001 to 2020.

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The release of the report also comes after the United States last week announced that an Aug. 29 drone strike killed 10 Afghan civilians, including several children and not an Islamic State-Khorasan Province militant as originally reported.

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