Almost 120 civilians are affected by mines and unexploded ordnance every month as they are either killed or maimed, the State Minister for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs, Najib Aqa Fahim, said at a ceremony on 17 Years of Turning Minefields into Vineyards Kabul on Thursday.
He said 3,400 square kilometers of land has been cleared of mines and unexploded ordnance but 1,700 square kilometers is still to be cleared.
Fahim said four people are killed and wounded in incidents related to mines and unexploded ordnance.
“The coalition forces who withdrew from Afghanistan, have left some areas with unexploded ordnance, the areas where they had military training and in conflicted areas,” said Fahim.
He said the international community’s support has decreased in this sector.
Toby Lanzer, Deputy Special Representative for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, meanwhile, called on the warring parties not to leave their under-control areas with unexploded ordnance.
“My call really is on all of the parties to abide by their obligations. The latest obligation in this regard, of course, is the certain conventional weapons’ convention,” Lanzer said.
Addressing the event, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said a budget will be allocated for demining efforts next year.
“Leaving no unexploded ordnance after a mission or fight is quite important,” said Abdullah.
This comes as a team of 13 female members in Bamiyan province has started clearance campaign of mines and unexploded ordnance.
The women said they started the task after seeing women, children and youth losing their body parts due to explosions.
“It is not an easy task, in each moment there is fear. When you fight with the enemy, you know when the enemy will come and when will attack, but mine is a hidden enemy, it comes from underground and you do not know it,” said Fatima, a member of the team.
“We serve the country and defuse mines to save the lives of children and people,” said Mamlakat, another member of the team.