British Government Disingenuous Over Afghan Death Toll

Part of the terrible cost borne by civilians as a result of the NATO intervention in Afghanistan has been revealed in a response by the British
Ministry of Defence following a query by the Celtic League.

The MOD says that almost £400,000 has been paid to settle approximately 100 claims resulting from death, injury or damage caused by British troops.

The accurate information sought by the League however is not forthcoming. The MOD asserts that when they:

“are made aware of an incident, alleged or not, the UK follows the robust ISAF process to investigate it. This includes a First Impression Report and a subsequent Civilian Casualty Assessment Report.”

However, they then contradict this assertion that “robust” processes are in place by saying:

“the UK Government does not collate or publish figures because of the immense difficulty and risks of collecting robust and accurate data.”

It is clear that Britain’s ISAF operation lacks transparency and the cover-ups perpetrated by the UK military in Ireland and its former colonies such as Kenya, Malaya and Aden are replicated today in Afghanistan.

The full text of the MOD letter is set out below:

“Martyn Kerswell
Operations Directorate
Ministry of Defence
Main Building
Level 5, Zone A, Desk 03
Whitehall
London SW1 A 2HB
United Kingdom

Our Ref :TO04511/2010
Date: 01 November 2010

Dear Mr Moffatt

Thank you for your letter dated 28 August to the Secretary of State for Defence in which you have posed questions about civilian casualties in Afghanistan. I am very sorry for the delay in replying to you.

Firstly let me say that the protection of the Afghan civilian population is at the core of our military strategy. International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) have worked extremely hard to reduce the levels of civilian casualties, introducing new rules to govern the use of force. And we have had considerable success; success which General Petraeus has wholeheartedly committed to in his building upon the efforts of his predecessor, General McChrystal.

Protecting Afghan civilians is one of ISAF and the UK’s top priorities and there are strict procedures, frequently updated in light of experience, intended to both minimise the risk of casualties occurring and to investigate any incidents that do happen.

But it is important to remember that the vast majority of civilian casualties are caused by the insurgents, not by ISAF forces. And there is a key difference. ISAF places a high priority on reducing and preventing civilian casualties, in contrast to the insurgents who target civilians indiscriminately. It should also be noted that insurgents routinely make false and exaggerated claims about civilian casualties caused by Coalition and Afghan forces and care must be taken not to accept their accounts at face value.

When we are made aware of an incident, alleged or not, the UK follows the robust ISAF process to investigate it. This includes a First Impression Report and a subsequent Civilian Casualty Assessment Report. The chain of command can also call on the ISAF Incident Assessment Team to assist in the identification of lessons to prevent a recurrence. Additionally, ISAF Contributing Nations can conduct national investigations. In the case of the UK a report is produced into any reported incident and where appropriate further investigations will be conducted.

Where civilian casualties have arisen as a result of UK or ISAF action, the UK Government does not collate or publish figures because of the immense difficulty and risks of collecting robust and accurate data. As mentioned every effort is made to avoid civilian casualties and any that are the result of action by British Armed Forces are always a matter of profound regret.

Finally, you have asked for the total compensation paid as a result of civilian deaths. In a period of six years from 2004 to 2010 £398,000 was settled in relation to 105 total claims.

Yours sincerely

Martyn Kerswell

www.mod.uk”

See related link;

MOD URGED TO COME CLEAN ON NUMBERS KILLED BY BRITISH ARMY

https://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/3453

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League

06/11/10

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