British troops on patrol in Basra, Iraq,in2003
British troops on patrol in Basra, Iraq, in 2003Getty Images

The Ministry of Defence has paid out £27m to Afghan and Iraqi civilians whose family members were killed, who suffered injuries, and whose property was damaged during UK military operations.

Iraqis have received almost £21.7m, while Afghans received £5.3m, according to information acquired by the Times following a Freedom of Information request.

Iraqi civilians have filed 1,145 claims, with 323 resulting out-of-court settlements worth £19.6m. In Afghanistan, 4,727 claims have been filed, leading to £5.3m in compensation having been paid out. The compensation bill is expected to rise, with 99 cases yet to be heard by UK courts.

The MoD recently won the right to place time limits on the validity of historical claims. More than 600 cases submitted in 2013 became invalid because the alleged incidents occurred more than three years before the initial complaint was made.

The payments include two of £5,384 made as a result of two fatalities in Iraq. In May, 2005, an Afghan family was paid £9,254 after a woman miscarried when a fence and wall landed on her, with the collapse "caused by helicopter downwash".

Other payouts were for £4,590, when British tanks damaged a wheat crop, £580 after British soldiers broke five doors during a house search, and £336 to a claimant who had three teeth knocked out in a road accident with a British military vehicle.

On MoD spokesman said: "The Government wants to spend our growing defence budget on our Armed Forces rather than paying lawyers who are pushing unfounded or unjustified claims.

"Investigations into the claims are continuing and, where cases are considered to be unjustified, the MOD will be contesting these. The Court of Appeal recently upheld our view that cases on behalf of Iraqi nationals should be time-limited. We are considering further measures to tackle persistent legal claims."