Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Kellan Howell / The Washington Times – 2016-02-27 00:33:00
US Payments Not Compensation for Lost Lives
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(February 26, 2016) — Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has issued a statement in Afghanistan criticizing the US for its “sorry money” payments to the victims of American attacks on an MSF hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan late last year, saying the payments were ridiculous and not compensatory for the loss of lives.
The US had previously had a precedent of paying $50,000 “blood money” each when US forced killed Afghan civilians during the occupation, but the victims of the MSF attack were given $6,000 and told it was a “condolence payment,” not the typical blood money. The Pentagon has also suggested some sort of compensation for all the employees at the hospital, whether they were wounded or not.
For some reason, Pentagon officials are keen to make a distinction between their previous “blood money” payments and those for the MSF hospital, which they insist are smaller because they’re just meant to help cover funeral costs, not as a formal blood money compensation.
The US has struggled to explain the attack on the hospital, offering several conflicting excuses on how the strike happened, and finally settling on the idea that it was a “mistake” that shouldn’t have happened. President Obama has blocked MSF calls for an international investigation.
MSF: US Payments to Victims of Kunduz
Hospital Bombing Inadequate ‘Sorry Money’
Kellan Howell / The Washington Times
WASHINGTON (February 26, 2016) — The US military is paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to wounded survivors and relatives of 42 people killed when an American AC-130 gunship attacked a charity hospital in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, but the charity group Doctors Without Borders says the US “sorry money” is not enough to compensate for the loss of life.
The military is paying $6,000 for each person killed, and the wounded receive $3,000 each, representatives of the victims of the Oct. 3 bombing told The Associated Press.
US forces in Afghanistan have “expressed their condolences and offered condolence payment to more than 140 families and individuals,” Army Col. Mike Lawhorn, spokesman for the US military in Afghanistan told AP. All 460 staff working at the hospital at the time of the attack are expected to receive some type of compensation.
But Guilhem Molinie, Doctors Without Borders spokesman in Afghanistan, said the payments are not enough. Doctors Without Borders is also known as MÃ©decins Sans FrontiÃ¨res or MSF.
He told AP that his group has discussed the “sorry money” with the US military and called the amount of payments “ridiculous,” arguing that many families had lost their sole breadwinner and the funds would not be enough to support them.
“These amounts are absolutely not compensation for loss of life,” he said.
The US has paid blood money up to $50,000 per death in some incidents, including the multiple killing of Afghan civilians by a US soldier in 2013.
The condolence payments in the hospital bombing case, however, are not seen as blood money or damage payments, but rather condolence payments to help cover basic costs such as funerals.
President Obama has apologized for the attack which the US commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John F. Campbell, called a mistake.
A joint US-NATO assessment, obtained by the AP, says the AC-130 gunship fired 211 shells at the compound for a half-hour before commanders realized the mistake and halted fire.
Military officials had initially claimed the hospital was overrun by Taliban fighters, but according to the report, US forces has meant to strike another building a few hundred yards away from the hospital.
A parallel investigation by the US military produced a 3,000-page report that officials say will be made public after it has been redacted. They have not given a firm date for its release.
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