|The families received around $50,000 for each person killed in the shootings in two villages in Panjwai district [Reuters]
US authorities have given cash compensation to the families of Afghans killed in a shooting rampage allegedly carried out by a US soldier in Kandahar province, a family member and a tribal elder said.
The families received around $50,000 for each person killed and about $10,000 for each wounded in the shootings in two villages in Panjwai district earlier this month.
"We were invited by the foreign and Afghan officials in Panjwai yesterday and they said this money is an assistance from [US President] Obama," Haji Jan Agha, who said he lost his cousins, told Reuters news agency on Sunday.
The US embassy directed all questions to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) which is fighting the war in Afghanistan.
An ISAF spokesman said he was in not in a position to either confirm or deny whether compensation was given, and if so how much.
Lieutenant Commander Brian Badura said that as a matter of policy ISAF does not make restitution for losses resulting from combat, combat-related activities or operational necessity.
"Individual troop contributing nations may participate in some form of restitution consistent with the cultural norms of Afghanistan," he said. "Settlement can come in a number of forms which may (be) but is not always financial."
"As a settlement of claims in most cases is a sensitive topic for those who have suffered loss it is usually a matter of agreement that terms of settlement remain confidential."
Afghan officials and villagers have counted 16 dead, 12 in the village of Balandi and four in neighbouring Alkozai, and six wounded. The US military has charged Army Staff Sgt Robert Bales with 17 murders without explaining the discrepancy.
The 38-year-old soldier is accused of using his 9mm pistol and M-4 rifle, which was outfitted with a grenade launcher, to kill four men, four women, two boys and seven girls, then burning some of the bodies. The ages of the children were not disclosed in the charge sheet.