- The Washington Times
Friday, February 26, 2016

The U.S. military is paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to wounded survivors and relatives of 42 people killed when an American AC-130 gunship attacked a charity hospital in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, but the charity group Doctors Without Borders says the U.S. “sorry money” is not enough to compensate for the loss of life.

The military is paying $6,000 for each person killed, and the wounded receive $3,000 each, representatives of the victims of the Oct. 3 bombing told The Associated Press.

U.S. forces in Afghanistan have “expressed their condolences and offered condolence payment to more than 140 families and individuals,” Army Col. Mike Lawhorn, spokesman for the U.S. military in Afghanistan told AP. All 460 staff working at the hospital at the time of the attack are expected to receive some type of compensation.

But Guilhem Molinie, Doctors Without Borders spokesman in Afghanistan, said the payments are not enough. Doctors Without Borders is also known as Médecins Sans Frontières or MSF.

He told AP that his group has discussed the “sorry money” with the U.S. military and called the amount of payments “ridiculous,” arguing that many families had lost their sole breadwinner and the funds would not be enough to support them.

“These amounts are absolutely not compensation for loss of life,” he said.

The U.S. has paid blood money up to $50,000 per death in some incidents, including the multiple killing of Afghan civilians by a U.S. soldier in 2013.

The condolence payments in the hospital bombing case, however, are not seen as blood money or damage payments, but rather condolence payments to help cover basic costs such as funerals.

President Obama has apologized for the attack which the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John F. Campbell, called a mistake.

A joint U.S.-NATO assessment, obtained by the AP, says the AC-130 gunship fired 211 shells at the compound for a half-hour before commanders realized the mistake and halted fire.

Military officials had initially claimed the hospital was overrun by Taliban fighters, but according to the report, U.S. forces has meant to strike another building a few hundred yards away from the hospital.

A parallel investigation by the U.S. military produced a 3,000-page report that officials say will be made public after it has been redacted. They have not given a firm date for its release.

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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