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Compensation paid to families of Afghan massacre victims
Tamil Guardian 26 March 2012 Print ArticleE-mail ArticleFeedback On Article
   
The United States military has paid out compensation to the families of a deadly night-time attack on an Afghan village by a US soldier that left 16 civilians dead, including four women and nine children.

US staff sergeant Robert Bales was charged with 17 counts of murder on Friday, including for the murder of an unborn baby, after it was revealed that one of his victims was pregnant.

On Saturday, the US military paid out US$50,000 in compensation for each murdered victim and $11,000 for each to those wounded in the attack. Agha Lalai, a member of the Kandahar provincial council, commented,
“We are grateful to the United States government for its help with the grieved families. But this cannot be counted as compensation for the death.”
His comments were reportedly echoed by a tribal elder who told the BBC,
"We still want to be inside the court to see him tried and he should be punished for his crime."
Another elder, Haji Samad, who lost 11 members of his family, criticised the fact that court proceedings were not taking place in Afghanistan, stating
"He committed the crime in Afghanistan. Why he is going to be prosecuted in the US?"
The killings have stirred much controversy, with many of the Afghan villagers claiming more than one US soldier was involved in the incident and has caused a dent in US-Afghan relations.

Early last week Afghan President Hamid Karzai met with families of the 16 victims as they recounted the shooting spree and demanded justice.

One victim’s brother stated,
“I want no compensation, from no one. I don't want Hajj [pilgrimage to Mecca], I don't want money, I don't want a villa inAino Mina [a posh neighbourhood in Kandahar city], I just want the punishment of the Americans. I want it, I want it, I want it. And I have laid down my own head in god's will. And if that is not possible, god be with you, I am leaving right now.”
See transcripts of the meeting here.
 
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