Report unveils human cost of war in Afghanistan

The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) has released a log under the Freedom of Information Act, making clear the ongoing human cost of the conflict in Afghanistan.

According to the disclosed data, dozens of children were killed and many more were injured by the British troops in Afghanistan in 2012 in a lost war which serves no purpose other than to protect the reputations of the countries involved in the occupation.

In the information released to the daily The Guardian, the MoD said it paid out compensation to an Afghan man, whose family of six, including a mother and her child, was killed when a rocket overshot a target and hit the compound in which they were living.

The rocket incident, which wiped an entire family, was caused due to a “weapons malfunction”, according to the MoD.

This is just one among dozens of cases, in which, the British military had to pay compensation amounting to £510,728 in 2011. It paid a sum of £537,684 for compensating Afghans human and property loss in 2012, and £1.3m in 2010, the report said.

However, in a change of policy, the MoD has decided against giving details of how much was paid out for individual incidents, despite being criticized in the past for a lack of transparency in relation to the payments.

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Sarah Holewinski, the executive director of the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (Civic), said that every line of the log “represents some type of loss”.

“Sometimes it’s 15 jerabs of corn, but often it’s the death or serious injury of a loved one, the lists creating a numerical picture of human struggle in war,” she said.

“Yet the scant details available and the lack of transparency of the UK amends programme only leads me to ask more questions, like how claims are handled, what losses are eligible, and how these amounts are arrived at. Understanding those basic guidelines is the only way we can begin to make sense of what these numbers mean”, added the executive director of Civic.

Among the incidents from last year which were listed in the log were two in July involving Apache helicopter strikes. One on 23 July resulted in injury to five children. Another 20 days earlier resulted in the death of a boy, whose sister lost her foot below the knee.

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Eric Write head editor and chief at The Pluto Daily