Afghan politician calls German air strike payouts ‘laughable’

The former Afghan Commerce Minister on Friday called Germany’s compensation for families of victims who died in last year’s deadly Kunduz air strike “laughable,” saying that the $5,000 was insignificant.

Afghan politician calls German air strike payouts 'laughable'
Photo: DPA

On Thursday the German Defence Ministry announced it would give the amount, equivalent to €3,800, to the families of the 102 civilians killed or injured in the NATO bombardment.

Former Commerce Minister Amin Farhang said that $5,000 – equivalent to about 20,000 Afghanis, the local currency – was not very much money in Afghanistan.

“This sum is laughable,” he told German broadcaster Radio Eins.

Farhang said he’d discussed the payments with other Afghan officials, “and many were disappointed here in Kabul.”

On September 4, 2009, German Col. Georg Klein ordered US aircraft to fire on two petrol tankers hijacked by the Taliban. Although the trucks were stuck in a dry river bed, Klein deemed them to be a threat to the nearby German camp.

After initially claiming only Taliban fighters were killed, the German government later admitted scores of civilians were also killed. After an investigation in which the Bundeswehr co-operated with the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, it was concluded that 91 civilians were killed and 11 seriously injured.

On Friday the Defence Ministry insisted the payments to be made this month were not Germany’s legal obligation but a “support payment” to help relatives of those killed or injured.

Farhang said he was also disappointed that Germany had refused to refer to the money as reparations.

“I’m not talking here about guilt or innocence here. But people were killed. And the Afghan blood should not be traded so cheaply,” he said.

The Defence Ministry had justified the payments as similar to the “type and fashion typical for the country,” as the relatives of five Afghan soldiers were paid the same amount after they were accidentally killed by Bundeswehr soldiers in a “friendly fire” accident on Good Friday.

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