Officials gathered in Kabul on Sunday to mark the International Day of Mine Awareness where they said 77.7 percent of agricultural lands have been cleared of mines and explosives over the past 25 years in Afghanistan.
State Minister for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs, Wais Ahmad Barmak, said they have a plan to clear the remaining areas between now and 2023.
“At least $550 million USD is needed to clear 611 square kilometers from mines,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mark Bowden, the UN’s Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Afghanistan said: “This is an initiative that we are entirely committed to, and want to advance towards the goals of sustainable national internship, leading to the complete elimination of mines and explosive remnants of wars (ERW) by 2023.
“We appeal for the continued support of the sector to enable the government of Afghanistan to fulfill its duties under the author of the mine ban treaty by 2023,” said Fraidun Humayun, an official from the Halo Trust.
The existence of landmines and unexploded ordnances (UXO) in Afghanistan still poses a serious threat to the lives and livelihoods of thousands of Afghan citizens.
During 2015, 388 Afghans were killed or injured by mines and ERW, representing an 18 percent decrease from 2014.
However, pressure‐plate improvised explosive devices (PP‐IED) is another major challenge that has put civilian lives in danger.
According to the UNAMA 2015 Report on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, 1,051 civilian casualties (459 deaths and 592 injured) from pressure‐plate IEDs were registered, representing a 35 percent increase compared to 2014.
Under the terms of the Ottawa Anti‐Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC) victim activated pressure‐plate IEDs are considered Anti‐personal mines; and the Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan (MAPA) only clears and records PP‐IEDs which are considered no longer part of the ongoing conflict, maintaining its neutrality and respecting the humanitarian nature of the program.