US Pays Cash for Civilian Deaths to Win Afghan

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  1. Ray

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    US Pays Cash for Civilian Deaths to Win Afghan ‘Hearts and Minds’ - Report

    According to a report published by the online publication The Intercept, the US military compensated Afghan families for civilian deaths and injuries as part of its counterinsurgency strategy, which rests upon winning support of the local population.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US military compensated Afghan families for civilian deaths and injuries as part of its counterinsurgency strategy, which rests upon winning support of the local population, according to a report published by the online publication The Intercept.

    “Condolence payments were approved… in Afghanistan beginning in 2005. They soon became part of the ‘hearts and minds’ approach to counterinsurgency,” The Intercept said on Friday.

    The report, “Our Condolences: How the US Paid for Death and Damage in Afghanistan,” was based on thousands of death and injury claims filed through 2011 that the US Army released to the Intercept.

    Of 5,766 claims filed, 1,671 were paid for a total of $3.1 million, 733 were denied while “the rest are in various kinds of accounting limbo,” according to The Intercept.

    The US Army counterinsurgency manual categorizes condolence payments as “a weapons system,” a seemingly dubious practice, according to The Intercept, that has nonetheless been welcomed by humanitarian groups.

    “While it might seem cynical to offer token compensation for a human life, humanitarian organizations embraced the policy as a way to acknowledge deaths and the hard economic realities of war zones,” The Intercept explained.

    Condolence payments are meant to be symbolic gestures, generally capped at $5,000 per incident in Afghanistan, though greater amounts can be approved, according to the report.

    The Intercept cited some disturbing examples, with a wide range of compensation amounts, from $181 for a man killed in a combat mission to $20,000 for a 5 year-old child crushed by a convoy.

    Injury claim settlements incorporate the cost of medical care while wrongful death cases factor in the deceased’s earning potential and circumstances, the report said.

    “If I have a case of a 28-year old doctor, they are going to be paid more than we’d pay for a child of four,” Douglas Dribben, an attorney with the US Army Claims Service, told The Intercept. “In Afghanistan, unfortunately, a young female child would likely be much less than a young boy.”

    As of February, 2014, at least 21,000 civilians have been killed as a result of the war in Afghanistan, according to Brown University’s Cost of War Project.

    The Intercept was originally founded to report on US National Security Agency (NSA) documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden. Its long-term mission is to produce investigative journalism that imposes transparency on powerful governmental and corporate bodies, according to the Intercept website.

    US Pays Cash for Civilian Deaths to Win Afghan ‘Hearts and Minds’ - Report / Sputnik International
     
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