The U.S. military has more than one pot to draw from for the program. The most common source of funds is the Commander’s Emergency Response Program. A 2009 CERP manual states that condolence payments are not compensation for loss but “can be paid to express sympathy and to provide urgent humanitarian relief.”
For most Kunduz victims, that expression of sympathy has not been enough. Several I spoke to were angry they had not been consulted before receiving just a few thousand dollars. Some referred to much larger payments made in Afghanistan, such as the $50,000 compensation paid for each death caused by Sergeant Robert Bales, who murdered 16 civilians in 2012. They were also frustrated by the lack of transparency.
“Making amends to the victims is about much more than the money,” says Marla Keenan, managing director for the Center for Civilians in Conflict, a nonprofit advocacy group. “It can seem incredibly arbitrary if you are the victim and someone shows up on your doorstep with a bag of money.”