Use of pressure plate IEDs intolerable: UNAMA
KABUL (Pajhwok): The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on Sunday condemned two improvised explosive device (IED) detonations that killed 19 civilians in Helmand and Badghis provinces.
Both devices used victim-activated pressure plate triggers that are both illegal and indiscriminate, the mission said in a statement.
In the first incident on September 29, a family returning from lunch in their private vehicle struck a pressure-plate IED emplaced in a culvert in Shoaer Langar area of Qadis district in Badghis province.
The detonation killed all 10 members of the family, including three women, two girls, and two boys. UNAMA quoted sources as reporting that insurgents had planted the device following ground engagements in the area the previous day.
In the second incident, on September 30 in Jump area, Nad Ali district of Helmand province, a group of civilians traveling on a tractor struck a pressure-plate IED.
The detonation killed nine civilians, eight of whom were women and small children. Sources reported that families were fleeing the area due to ongoing clashes between anti-government elements and Afghan security forces.
There were no survivors in either incident, with the pressure-plate IEDs killing all occupants of the civilian vehicles which detonated the devices.
“The terrible toll on civilian life caused by indiscriminate pressure-plate IEDs is intolerable and their use may constitute a war crime,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.
“These devices continue to indiscriminately kill and maim civilians and spread terror throughout civilian communities. Anti-Government Elements must immediately order their fighters to cease the use of these illegal and indiscriminate weapons,” said Yamamoto, who is also head of UNAMA.
Victim-activated pressure-plate IEDs function like anti-personnel land mines, which are a prohibited weapons under international law. These IEDs are particularly harmful as they are indiscriminate and are just as likely to be activated by a civilian as by a military object.
Pressure-plate IEDs are detonated by any person, including children stepping on them or any vehicles, such as civilian vehicles or tractors driving over them.
UNAMA expressed deepest condolence to the families of those killed in these incidents.
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