US Military gives Compensation to Kandahar Families in Afghan Massacre

Afghan families who lost relatives in the Kandahar massacre have been paid compensation.

The US military gave $46,000 (£29,000) for each person killed, and $10,000 (£6,300) for each person injured, Afghan officials and tribal elders say.

US staff sergeant Robert Bales was charged on Friday with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

Meanwhile, eight Afghan police officers and an Isaf foreign soldier have been killed by a bomb in Kandahar province.

They were on patrol when they were hit by an improvised explosive device late on Saturday, officials said.

“Four Afghan local police and three national police, one Isaf soldier and one Afghan interpreter were killed,” Shah Mohammad, administrator for Arghandab district, said.

Family members attended a private meeting with personnel from the US military and the Nato-led ISAF forces at the offices of Kandahar’s governor, the BBC has learnt.

The families were told that some witnesses would be flown to the US to give evidence – and others would be able to participate by videolink – when Staff Sgt Bales stands trial over the deadly night-time rampage in Panjwai district on 11 March.

The US army said on Friday that Sgt Bales had been formally charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder – nine Afghan children and eight adults.

Afghan officials and villagers say 16 died – 12 in Balandi and four in Alkozai – and the US military has not explained the discrepancy.

The soldier is currently being held at a military jail in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he is being held in solitary confinement after being flown out of Afghanistan last week.

His lawyer, who has played down reports that his client was drunk on the night of the killings, has said Sgt Bales remembers “very little” of the incident.

John Henry Browne said there was “no forensic evidence” against him and “no confession”.

Sgt Bales is the only known suspect in the killings – despite repeated Afghan assertions that more than one American was involved.

His trial could take years, contrasting with Afghan demands for swift and decisive justice, and he could face the death penalty if convicted.

The shooting spree has further undermined relations between Kabul and Washington. The Taliban called off peace talks in the wake of the deadly rampage.