Landmines continue to pose threat to Afghans’ lives

Landmines continue to kill or maim over 120 people every month in Afghanistan, one of the most landmine contaminated countries, authorities said on Wednesday.

“Landmines and explosive remnants of war kill or maim more than 120 Afghans every month,” Nooruddin Rustamkhil from the State Ministry for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs said at an event marking the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.

The day is observed every year on April 4, Xinhua news agency reported.

“We are marking the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. Marking this special day gives us opportunities to study and observe all challenges and problems ahead of mine clearing program in Afghanistan,” Rustamkhil, head of the Directorate for Mine Action Coordination of the ministry, said.

The official noted that the Afghan caretaker government has speeded up its efforts to clear the country from mines. However, he acknowledged that “it was impossible to have Afghanistan free of mines without international support.”

“During the past four decades of war, Afghanistan has been contaminated by millions of mines. During the past 30 years, about 3,323 square km of land has been cleared from millions of mines and explosive remnants of war. However, some 606 square km of Afghan land is still contaminated by landmines,” he said.

The official said it would take seven to eight years to have the mountainous country completely free from the menace of mines.

The Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan has cleaned some 26 square km from landmines and explosive ordnance in 21 of the country’s 34 provinces since August in last year, according to Rustamkhil.

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