The U.S. paid $50,000 in compensation for each villager killed and $11,000 for each person wounded in a shooting rampage allegedly carried out by a rogue American soldier in southern Afghanistan, Afghan officials said Sunday.
The families were told that the money came from President Barack Obama. The unusually large payouts were the latest move by the White House to mend relations with the Afghan people after the killings threatened to shatter already tense relations.
Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales is accused of sneaking off his base on March 11, then creeping into houses in two nearby villages and opening fire on families as they slept.
The killings came as tensions between the U.S. and Afghanistan were strained following the burning of Qurans at a U.S. base in February. That act — which U.S. officials have acknowledged was a mistake — sparked riots and attacks that killed more than 30 people, including six American soldiers.