Germany is to compensate the families of Afghan civilians killed in an airstrike in September, the Defense Ministry said on 7 December. The ministry was in contact with a lawyer representing the victims’ families, a ministry spokesman said in Berlin. Up to 142 people were killed in the late-night attack on two fuel tanker trucks stolen by the Taliban in northern Afghanistan. A German colonel, operating under NATO’s Afghan mission, had summoned US fighter bombers to blow up the fuel trucks while they were stalled in a river bed. German-Afghan lawyer Karim Popal said he represented 78 relatives of people killed on the 4 September airstrike, all of whom had signed legal powers of attorney. The defense ministry spokesman, Christian Dienst, said they were looking into the possibilities of an out-of-court settlement to avoid years of legal wrangling.