U.S. Offers Compensation For Afghan Shooting Victims
In addition, the U.S. has paid $11,000 for each Afghan wounded in the shooting. The sums are much larger than typical payments offered to families of civilians killed in Afghanistan. A U.S. official confirmed Sunday that the payments, which total more than $860,000, have been made on Saturday, according to CNN.
"I can't comment on the figure, but I can say that it reflects the devastating nature of the incident," said the official, who asked not to be identified.
In previous civilian death payments, Afghan officials gave survivors $2,000 for each death and $1,000 for each person wounded, according to the AP.
The American official who handed over the money to the families said it was not compensation, but the U.S. government’s effort to help out victims, Kandahar provincial council member Haji Nyamat Khan told CNN.
Investigators believe U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Bales left his outpost in Kandahar province on March 11 and went house-to-house gunning down villagers. Nine of the victims in the attack were children and women, Reuters reported.
"We were invited by the foreign and Afghan officials in Panjwai yesterday and they said this money is an assistance from [President Barack Obama]," Haji Jan Agha, who said he lost his cousins, told Reuters.
Afghans are requesting that the suspect be handed over to Afghanistan to face trial, but Bales was returned to the U.S. last week and is being held at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., according to CNN. One military official in Afghanistan said Bales is expected to go on trial in the U.S.
Bales has been charged with 17 counts of murder and could face the death penalty if found guilty.