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Cost of carnage: US compensates families of Kandahar slaughter victims

Published time: March 26, 2012 14:34
Edited time: March 26, 2012 18:34
In a photograph taken on March 11, 2012, Afghan villagers sit in vehicles as they prepare to remove the victims of a shooting from homes in the village of Alkozai in Kandahar Province (AFP Photo / Jangir)

In a photograph taken on March 11, 2012, Afghan villagers sit in vehicles as they prepare to remove the victims of a shooting from homes in the village of Alkozai in Kandahar Province (AFP Photo / Jangir)

The United States has paid compensation to the families of 17 killed and 7 wounded in the Kandahar massacre on March 11.

­US officers met with the families of the victims and local tribal leaders at the office of Kandahar Governor on Sunday. The US paid about $47,000 for each person killed in the rampage, while those who were wounded in the shooting received about $11,000 each.

The ransom was paid in the local currency, Afghan officials said. The amount of the compensation is quite significant, especially given that an average monthly income in Afghanistan is $30-40 per month.

It is unusual for the Pentagon to compensate victims of US military attacks monetarily. But escalating tensions in the country and Afghan outrage over the incident seem to leave Washington no other choice.

“The compensation was on behalf of America’s government and was meant to ease the anger of these victims and encourage them not to take any violent actions,” a local official Agha Lalai Dastgiri said.

However, he added, the ransom and official apologies might be not enough to prevent revenge attacks.

On March 11, 17 Afghan people, including nine children were killed in a shooting rampage in two villages in the province of Kandahar. US Sgt. Robert Bales was charged with the murders as a lone gunman, but Afghan authorities claim that up to 20 US soldiers participated in the massacre.

The US investigation is still underway and the motives behind the attack have not been revealed yet.

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