Report: UK Military Killed at Least 64 Afghan Children

The British Army paid compensation to the relatives of 64 children killed over nine years of military action in Afghanistan, according to the publication of a new investigation on Wednesday.

Report: UK Military Killed at Least 64 Afghan Children
Image credit: File Pic [via Sky News]

Facts

  • The British Army paid compensation to the relatives of 64 children killed over nine years of military action in Afghanistan, according to the publication of a new investigation on Wednesday.
  • Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) — a London-based advocacy and research group — reportedly discovered the information through freedom of information requests. The figure is four times higher than UK forces had previously acknowledged.
  • According to the analysis, between 2006 and 2014, the army compensated for 38 incidents involving 64 confirmed child fatalities. A one-year-old boy was reportedly the youngest recorded child killed.
  • The total figure of under-18s killed could be significantly higher, as documents from the Ministry of Defense (MOD) listed 135 fatalities in the period, often without detailing their age or circumstances around their death. Among the most common causes of death were airstrikes and being caught in the crossfire.
  • AOAV's research also revealed that the average compensation for each person killed was $1,894 (£1,656). The total amount paid — including for adult deaths — between 2006-2014 was $165,332 (£144,593), though the majority of the 881 claims brought to the Allied Commander Operations in those years were rejected.
  • In response to the investigation, an MOD spokesperson has said: "Any civilian death during conflict is a tragedy, more so when children and family members are involved. The UK Armed Forces works hard to minimise [sic] that risk, which regrettably can never be entirely eliminated."

Sources: ITV, ABC, Sky News, Yahoo, Al Jazeera, and AOAV.

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by Middle East Monitor. These revelations should give pause for thought. Modern war will always bring civilian casualties, but this report sheds light on the often-forgotten child fatalities and sends a warning to Westminster politicians about the realities of conflict.
  • Narrative B, as provided by BBC News. It's not enough to only avoid conflict; there also needs to be more transparency and accountability in investigating these types of incidents. In contrast to the UK, US Defense Sec. Lloyd Austin recently ordered a major review of how the Pentagon investigates civilian casualties. Britain must follow this example and direct more resources toward the mitigation of harm to civilians.