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Germany

Germany agrees on compensation for Kunduz victims

After lengthy consultation with village elders and an Afghan human rights group, Germany has said it will pay $5,000 in compensation to victims of an airstrike in the Kunduz region. Ninety-one people died in the attack.

A German soldier stands guard with a convoy of the German military armored vehicles

German troops have been operating in Afghanistan since 2001

Following months of negotiations, Germany has agreed to pay $5,000 (3,800 euros) per family in compensation to the victims of a deadly airstrike in northern Afghanistan last year.

Lawyers representing the victims had initially demanded far higher compensation, in some cases as high as 28,000 euros per person. The compensation is officially being branded as "humanitarian aid" to avoid legal disputes.

A spokesman for the German Defense Ministry told The Associated Press on Thursday that an independent local mediator had met with village elders to identify the families of the 91 Afghans who were killed, as well as 11 other Afghans seriously injured in the attack.

According to the online edition of Stern news magazine, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission was also involved.

'Long overdue'

An official report by the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan said last September's attack, ordered by a German commander on two fuel trucks hijacked by the Taliban in the Kunduz region, killed or injured up to 142 people. Many of them were civilians.

"The compensation is long overdue," Bernhard Docke, a lawyer for the victims, told news agency dpa. "It's a shame that it took so long." However, Docke believes $5,000 is not an adequate amount, and said he plans to negotiate whether further claims can be enforced.

The ministry expects to finalize the payments later in August. The total bill for German taxpayers will likely be about $500,000.

Author: Martin Kuebler (AP/dpa)
Editor: Michael Lawton

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