What's an Afghan Life Worth? Slain Afghan Villagers' Families Paid $50,000 in Compensation

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When civilians are killed, family members often respond with anger and rage. According to CIVIC and US officials, the likelihood that they will turn to Taliban insurgents for support increases.

"Apologizing and providing assistance is a way of saying this really was an accident," said one official who asked not to be named. "We're sorry, and we want to help you."

In the case of the Panjwaii compensation, there's a question of whether the money will be enough to make amends. Internally, Afghans have a long tradition of exchanging "blood money" between rival clans and tribes, but rarely have foreigners been involved in the process.

Family members of the slain Panjwaii victims have said, repeatedly, that no amount of compensation would be sufficient, that only seeing the accused punished, in Afghanistan, in a public trial would bring them any comfort.

In other words, the villagers didn't want blood money. They wanted blood.

"The villagers aren't like animals that you can buy," a senior Afghan official told ABC News when asked about the compensation. "Yes, it's a lot of money. But their children are not coming back."

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