Afghan demining programme lacks budget: Barmak
KABUL (Pajhwok): Afghanistan Natural Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) chief Wais Ahmad Barmak on Monday said 20 to 25 percent of Afghanistan’s land remained littered with landmines and the demining campaign lacked budget.
Barmak expressed these views during a meeting of demining organizations from Afghanistan, Iran, Azerbaijan and Tajikistan in Kabul.
Despite efforts at clearing landmines, about 4,000 areas covering 500 kilometers square or 20 to 25 percent of the country’s land remained contaminated with improvised explosive devices (IDEs), he said.
Around 55 to 60 million US dollars were annually needed to achieve goals of the demining campaign, he added.
“We cannot achieve the goal of completely clearing Afghanistan’s land of landmines until 2023 if the international community does not provide budget for the demining programme,” he said, adding that he would attend an international meeting two months later in Geneva and would ask the international community for funds to the programme.
National and International Demining Committee head in Afghanistan Kifayatullah Eblaghi said most of the areas littered with landmines were in Kandahar, Helmand, Badakhshan, Kunduz, Faryab, Herat and some central provinces.
He said most of the areas where bombs were planted during the past three decades of civil war had been cleared, but some areas had recently been planted with the hidden weapon again by Taliban militants and it was a matter of concern.
Eblaghi said around 20 to 25 people would daily fall prey to landmines 26 years ago, but the figures had reduced to two or three people a day.
Around one million civilians have been killed or wounded by landmines during the past 26 years that saw 189 deminers losing their lives with 977 others wounded, he said.
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