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Still 20pc of Afghanistan land littered with landmines

Still 20pc of Afghanistan land littered with landmines

Dec 14, 2015 - 17:46

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The UN-sponsored demining agency on Monday said Afghanistaninfo-icon needed international assistance to clear its 20 percent of land still containing landmines.

United Nations Mine Action Centre for Afghanistan (UNMACA) director Mohammad Sediq Rashid said millions of landmines and unexploded ordnance had been detected and defused during the past 26 years in Afghanistan, but still 20 percent of the country’s land remained littered with the deadly weapons.

He said the munitions -- leftover from the previous wars and from the decade-old conflict -- continued to threaten the lives of Afghans.

According to his information, thousands of people had suffered casualties in blasts caused by landmines and unexploded devices during the past 26 years when 1,126 deminers were either killed or wounded.

He cited the ongoing conflict and financial problems a key challenge to the demining campaign, urging the international community to help Afghanistan achieve the status of landmines-free country until 2023.

Rashid was speaking at launch of the book, Stepping into a Minefield by Ian Mansfield, who served as UN representative in area of demining between 1991 and 1995. Copies of the book were distributed to journalists covering the ceremony.

Rashid said the writer had mentioned losses and damages caused by landmines and the efforts to deal with the explosives and the bravery of Afghan deminers who despite lack of modern tools worked to save precious lives.

The author, Ian Mansfield, addressed the book launch event from Australia through Skype, saying he wrote the book to keep alive the heroism of Afghan deminers in people's memories for ever.


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