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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

950 Dollars (£636) For The Death Of A 10-year-old Boy, 105 Afghan deaths compensated by UK

The UK has paid compensation for the deaths of more than 100 Afghan civilians last year, Ministry of Defence figures have revealed.

Details of claims and payouts made for people killed and injured in error by British forces emerged in response to a Freedom of Information request made by Channel 4 News as part of an investigation into the issue.

Thousands of pounds were paid to relatives of at least 105 Afghan civilians last year - three times as many as 2008 when there were 33 such payouts.

Compensation included 950 dollars (£636) for the death of a 10-year-old boy in the Nad-e-Ali area of Helmand in December and 6,800 dollars (£4,549) after four children were killed.

The figures also set out compensation for damage to property such as livestock and mobile phones.

Details of the incidents and the exact number of people who died are not always provided in the documents, which in a number of cases refer to "fatalities".

According to the MoD - which accused the Taliban of attacking from densely populated areas to effectively use human shields - payments do not mean UK forces are legally liable.

A spokesman for the MoD said: "Any incident involving civilian casualties is a matter of deep regret, particularly when the actions of international forces may be at fault. We have strict procedures intended to minimise the risk of civilian casualties and to investigate any that occur.

"In contrast, the insurgents often target civilians with their indiscriminate attacks and operate from densely populated areas in order to deliberately draw civilians into the battle.

"Payments are made to recognise the circumstances of each incident and to satisfy cultural and operational circumstances; they do not necessarily mean UK forces are legally liable."

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