Continued from below

Posted by: Erica

KABUL – As far as the two elders from Wardak understood, they had duly filed their claim, and they fully expected that the international military authorities who had caused the damage to their land would deal with them justly. The advice I had to give them was the last thing they expected to hear.

The active fighting in Wardak in the past few months has been almost exclusively U.S. military and air force, potentially with some backup by the Afghan National Army or other ISAF troops. This means that if they were injured in Wardak, they were very likely injured by U.S. troops and would have to make a claim with them, not with the Turkish troops at the local PRT. Even if the PRT in Wardak had taken their documentation and agreed with their claim, as they said, given the lack of coordination between the militaries of different NATO member countries, the odds that the Turkish military officers who took the information were proactive enough to forward it to their U.S. military counterparts are slim to none. The two elders also said they presented their claim at ISAF HQ in Kabul, but unfortuantely I’ve also never heard of a case where ISAF HQ in Kabul forwarded compensation claims to U.S. military authorities, much less of a case where those claims were then processed successfully.

I asked my translator to explain to them that we would try to do something, but that the odds are that their “claim” had never gone anywhere. My translator turned to me and said, “But I don’t understand. Why would the ISAF tell him they would do something about the claim and then not do anything about it?” I had no explanation for him, other than that is what I have seen repeatedly in the 9 months I have been here.

To be continued: Fri., Nov. 21, 2008.

Image courtesy of CIVIC