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Still around 100 Afghans monthly fall prey to IEDs

Still around 100 Afghans monthly fall prey to IEDs

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Apr 04, 2017 - 19:24

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The State Minister for Disaster Management (SMDM) on Tuesday said explosives and landmines continued to take lives in Afghanistaninfo-icon as still about 100 people, mostly children, were either killed or wounded each month.

Wais Ahmad Barmak, talking about International Mine Awareness Day, said around 140 civilians were either killed or maimed in blasts caused by improvised explosive devices or IEDs in the country each month.

He said it was a matter of great concern that 70 percent of the victims were children.

The country’s 40 percent soil was contaminated with landmines and IEDs in the past wars and 30,000 hectares of land took 27 years to be cleared, he said.

But 6,000 hectares of the country’s land was contaminated with explosives again in the recent conflict, extending the land littered with landmines to 15,000 hectares, Barmak said.

He said 20 percent of the country’s area remained contaminated with landmines and IEDs. Clearing all the area need around $700 million or $800 million, Barmak said.

“At least $80 million is needed to keep on the IEDs clearance drive across the country each year”, he added.

“If the international community supports us, we can clear all the country’s soil from the hidden enemy until 2023,” he said.

Nazifa Zaki, a Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon member from Kabul, said: “It is indeed a matter of concern that more than a hundred people, particularly children, are killed or wounded by IEDs each month.”

She said the government and the international community should take serious steps to prevent civilian casualties and neutralize landmines.

Mohammad Shahab Hakimi, head of the Mine Detection Center (MDC), expressed concern over the shortage of budget and said: “Under the Afghanistan Mine Cleaning Plan, the country should be fully cleared of IEDs until 2023, but the shortage of budget may make it hard to achieve the goal.”

He said they had been lacking 75 percent budget last year and thus unable to clear all the IEDs and implement the plan.

“Mine clearing program has been ongoing for the past 27 years in Afghanistan, but the country is still contaminated with explosives because the enemies’ plant more mines on more areas,” he said.

He said 27,000 areas had been cleared and 17.8 million landmines defused during the past 27 years.

He said the risk of landmines and IEDs still existed in Khost, Parwan, Logar, Kunduz, Nangarhar, Baghlan, Kapisa, Herat, Jawzjan, Faryab and some other provinces.

mds/ma

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