Demining campaign gets underway
KABUL (PAN): Thirty-seven sites littered with bombs and unexploded ordinance in central, northern and northeastern parts of the country would be cleared over the next two years, an official said on Thursday.
The project would provide job opportunities for roughly 350 workers, said Mohammad Haider Reza, the director of the Mine Action Coordination Centre of Afghanistan (MACCA) said.
At the launch of the project, he said it would be implemented by the International Road Transport Union (IRU) and the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS).
He said the project would cover 700 kilometres area in Kabul, Parwan, Baghlan, Kunduz, Samangan, Balkh and Jawzjan provinces. Demining the areas would pave the way for development.
"It will help Afghanistan have secure trade and transit links with central Asian countries and China," the MACCA director hoped.
IRU Undersecretary General Igro Rounov said reviving the historic Silk Road, linking Afghanistan with China and Central Asia, was one of the project's top objectives.
The Silk Road connected East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean, as well as North and Northeast Africa and Europe.
With the Soviet invasion in 1979, bombs and explosive devices were planted in almost all parts of the country. So far, 8,000 sites have been cleared of while 640 kilometres of land is yet to be demined.
Fifty-two people were either killed or wounded by mines each month in 2010. However, demining agencies complain of insufficient funds and urge donors to help them clear the country of unexploded bombs.
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