Landmines continue to take 112 Afghan lives each month
Marking the International Mine Awareness Day, State Minister for Natural Disasters Management, Wais Barmak told a ceremony that more than 19 million landmines had been cleared from 2,710 villages in 117 districts during the past two and a half decades.
He said so far about 1,000 deminers had been killed or injured and 565 others kidnapped but released with mediation of local tribal elders.
However, Barmak said 4,200 different areas (an estimated 611 kilometers square area) in 1,570 villages remained contaminated with landmines.
The Afghan government has evolved a five-year plan for demining all the remaining areas, a plan that required $550 million to be implemented, Barmak said.
He said surveys, clearing landmines, creating awareness about the dangers of landmines, destroying bomb depots and assisting families of the victims were among primary goals of the five-year plan.
The plan was signed between Barmak and representatives of demining firms during the ceremony today.
Acknowledging decrease in support for the demining process, he asked the international community to cooperate with Afghanistan in implementing the plan.
United Nations (UN)’s deputy special representative for Afghanistan, Mark Bogdan, who also represents the demining programme in the country, told the ceremony that demining programmes had been successful in Afghanistan during the past two and a half decades.
He promised UN’s continued cooperation with the demining programmes. Calling insecurity one of the major obstacles to the demining process, the UN envoy said that the Afghan forces should ensure security of demining workers during their operations.
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