Page last updated at 23:53 GMT, Wednesday, 1 July 2009 00:53 UK

UK Afghan civilian death payments

Afghan casualties
The government says compensation opportunities are advertised

The government has paid or is assessing compensation over 104 civilian deaths allegedly caused by the Army during operations in Afghanistan.

Figures revealed after a Freedom of Information request by Channel 4 News show $200,000 (£120,000) compensation was paid in the last 18 months.

Payouts range from $210 (£127) for a woman's death to $39,752 (£24,155) for a "multiple fatality" incident.

But 113 compensation claims have been rejected by the Ministry of Defence.

The majority of UK forces have been fighting the Taliban in Helmand province.

Despite every effort to target only insurgents, there are times when the ordinary people of Afghanistan are inadvertently harmed
Ministry of Defence

Documents which cover December 2007 to May 2009 show that an incident in Musa Qaleh, in the summer of 2007 where five adults and 15 children were said to have died, resulted in a rejected claim of $100,000 (£60,670).

In 2008, the deaths of two children in the same town resulted in a $10,000 (£6066) payout.

The $39,752 payout came after an incident which occurred in Laskhar Gah province in October last year.

In a statement, the Ministry of Defence said: "Compensation claims brought against British forces working as part of the International Security Assistance Force are considered on the basis of whether the MoD has a legal liability to pay compensation.

"Where there is a proven legal liability compensation is paid. Despite every effort to target only insurgents, there are times when the ordinary people of Afghanistan are inadvertently harmed."

Defence minister Bill Rammell told Channel 4 News that avoiding civilian casualties was "not only a moral view" but a "practical and political view".

He said the government advertised compensation opportunities and added that the Afghan people wanted an international presence because they were afraid of the Taliban.



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