Found Alive, Soldiers Are Told: You Owe Us for Burials

BEHSUD, Afghanistan — The first time Noor ul-Haq died, his Afghan Army outpost was completely cut off by the Taliban on a bleak southern battleground. Hundreds of insurgent fighters swept in, and all that was left for the government to do was ship the corpses home.

His wife and their 10 children buried the body, piling rocks into a mound over the grave in a cemetery rapidly filling with other war dead here in Behsud District, in eastern Afghanistan. Like others, they were handed a $2,300 government payout — roughly a year’s salary for a soldier — to pay for the burial and see them through for a short while.

No one knows whom they put in that grave, but it was not Mr. Haq.