The practice of US and other NATO members paying “blood money” to the victims of massacres, night raids and assorted air strikes has been controversial. The US military in particular has often made a show of paying extremely trivial sums under the rationale that Afghan civilians would exaggerate the tolls of massacres to up the payout.
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While the official statements in the US surrounding the March 11 Kandahar massacre make a point to present it as an isolated incident, and one that is absolutely not going to change policy, inside Afghanistan the US military is doing very much what it always does when it kills civilians: cut a check to the relatives.
The payments this time are considerably larger than normal, perhaps owing to the extremely high profile of the massacre and the number of children involved. Families are being paid $50,000 per slain Afghan and $11,000 each for the wounded, meaning a payout of $916,000.
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