Britain paid out as little as £104 in compensation for Afghan deaths, MoD data reveals
Britain's government gave compensation as low as £104.17 following Afghan civilian deaths, according to data from the UK Ministry of Defence.
London-based charity Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) revealed via data obtained by a series of Freedom of Information requests that the UK paid financial settlements for at least 289 Afghan deaths from 2006 to 2014, at a total cost of £688,000.
While the average payout was £2,380, one family was given just £104.17 in February 2008 for a confirmed fatality and property damage.
This compares to £873 paid for a damaged crane and £662 given for the death of six donkeys.
“This means that, on occasion, electronics and animals were valued more than human life,” said AOAV.
Out of the 289 casualties, 86 are believed to be children.
The youngest recorded fatality was a three-year-old.
“These figures are likely just a snapshot of the reality as they are only based on UK compensation agreements, which was not a simple process for Afghan civilians to engage with,” AOAV added.
The charity estimated that at least 20,390 civilians were killed or injured by international and Afghan forces from 2007 to 2020, based on their analysis of UN reports.
Roughly one-third of the casualties in this analysis were caused by the Taliban or other anti-government forces.
“The files do not make for easy reading,” research author Murray Jones told The Guardian.
“The banality of language means hundred of tragic deaths, including dozens of children, read more like an inventory.”
With British and allied forces pulling out of Afghanistan ahead of US President Joe Biden’s 31 August deadline, many have called into question the rationality and morality of the UK’s mission which lasted twenty years.
It is widely documented that the war in Afghanistan cost 457 British soliders’ lives and cost at least £22.7 billion in total.
UK ex-soldiers and families of deceased soldiers have called the conflict “pointless” following the Taliban’s lightning offensive and capture of Kabul.
It is feared by populations and governments across the world that more violence will ensue as the militant group attempts to govern a population of millions while denying women and girls basic rights and oppressing minority communities.