Monday, March 20, 2017
How much is an Afghani worth
Not the currency of the country but the life of your average Abdul in the street? After 15 years of blowing up anything of value that we don't control and killing anyone who gets in the way, the US military uses a situational system for determining how much, if any, blood money the survivors will get.
In March 2014, the U.S. military paid an Afghan man just over $1,000 to compensate for killing his civilian son in an operation near the border with Iran, according to U.S. military records released to Reuters.Who you are, where you are, who do you know all determine how little the local commader can get away with paying for your dead family. And we want to keep on doing this with no end in sight.
Six months later, another Afghan father was given $10,000 by the U.S. military after his child, also a civilian, was killed in an American-led military operation in the same province.
And 68-year-old Haji Allah Dad lost 20 relatives, including his brother and sister-in-law, in a U.S. and Afghan special forces operation near the northern city of Kunduz last November.
Allah Dad said he received no money from the U.S. military, though he did get compensation from the Afghan government.
Nearly 16 years since invading Afghanistan, the United States has no standardized process for making compensation payments to the families of thousands of Afghan civilians killed or injured in U.S.-led military operations.
It first started paying the families of Afghan victims as a way to counter Taliban militants who were doing the same.
America's approach to compensation is arbitrary by design as it tries to negotiate Afghanistan's cultural and regional sensitivities as a foreign military force.
But civil activists say the system is unfair and confusing for often poor and uneducated Afghans.
A Pentagon spokesman said the military leaves the decision on how much to pay to commanders on the ground because they are best positioned to judge the incidents.
"Condolence payments in Afghanistan are based on cultural norms of the local area, advice from Afghan partners, and the circumstances of the event," said spokesman Adam Stump.
"U.S. commanders in theater are therefore empowered to make decisions regarding payments as they have the greatest understanding of these factors," Stump said.
"A man in Kandahar may get $4,000 for his damaged car while a woman in Gardez gets $1,000 for her dead child. Civilians deserve better,”
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