An armored vehicle ran over a six-year-old boy’s legs: $11,000. A jingle truck was “blown up by mistake”: $15,000. A controlled detonation broke eight windows in a mosque: $106. A boy drowned in an anti-tank ditch: $1,916. A 10-ton truck ran over a cucumber crop: $180. A helicopter “shot bullets hitting and killing seven cows”: $2,253. Destruction of 200 grape vines, 30 mulberry trees and one well: $1,317. A wheelbarrow full of broken mirrors: $4,057.
A child who died in a combat operation: $2,414.
These are among the payments that the United States has made to ordinary Afghans over the course of American military operations in the country, according to databases covering thousands of such transactions obtained byThe Intercept under the Freedom of Information Act. Many of the payments are for mundane incidents such as traffic accidents or property damage, while others, in flat bureaucratic language, tell of “death of his wife and 2 minor daughters,” “injuries to son’s head, arms, and legs,” “death of husband,” father, uncle, niece.
The databases are incomplete, reflecting fragmented record keeping in Afghanistan, particularly on the issue of harm to civilians. The paymentsThe Intercept has analyzed and presented in the graphic accompanying this story are not a complete accounting, but they do offer a small window into the thousands of fractured lives and personal tragedies that take place during more than a decade of war.
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