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Afghanistan

Afghanistan celebrated the International Mine Awareness Day 2015. Photo: Fardin Waezi/UNAMA

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ABOUT

The Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan (MAPA) was established in 1989. In 2012, the Afghan Directorate for Mine Action Coordination (DMAC), formally began to execute aspects of the programme management of the MAPA in direct collaboration with UNMAS.

The DMAC has now absorbed all the Afghan technical mine action personnel previously employed by UNMAS. The Afghan Government has asked UNMAS for continued support beyond 2018, in areas such as strategic planning, resource mobilization, and funds management and contracting.

While some 79 per cent of the known minefields and battle areas have now been cleared, the remaining 21 per cent qualifies Afghanistan as one of the countries most affected by landmines and ERW. In total, 1,536 communities remain affected. Some 3,721 identified hazards remain, impeding development by delaying new road networks, airports, transmission lines and returnee settlement. When the newer contamination, which is increasing the casualty count, is factored in, Afghanistan’s humanitarian mine action needs are now as great as they have ever been.

ACTIVITIES

UNMAS assisted the Government of Afghanistan to successfully request a ten-year extension to complete its clearance commitments under the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty. A detailed work plan to achieve mine-free status by 2023 was developed, and DMAC and its partners continue to make progress towards this end. However, funding shortfalls have meant that annual humanitarian clearance targets have not been met. Furthermore, new contamination from VOIED adds to this commitment. In Afghan year 1396 (2017-18), UNMAS-contracted teams cleared some 7.5 square kilometers of explosive hazard contaminated land, destroying 426 AP mines, 66 AT mines and 1,653 ERW. We are on track to triple this rate of clearance in 1397.

Funded by Afghanistan’s UN-OCHA Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF), and implemented by UNMAS, EVA provided humanitarian assistance to civilian casualties of Afghanistan’s conflict, including explosive hazard victims. A total of 1,300 immediate assistance packages containing food and non-food items were delivered under EVA benefiting 10,870 people. Although this project has now ended, UNMAS continues to support victim assistance via mobile and fixed physical rehabilitation clinics.

Returnees are particularly vulnerable to the risks posed by mines and ERW due to their lack of knowledge on the extent of the contamination and of the attitudes and practices to adopt to protect themselves. UNMAS implementing partners provide risk education and awareness to returnees at UNHCR encashment centres and IOM transit centres at the four major border crossings for return to Afghanistan.

For the first time in the 30-year history of mine action in Afghanistan, women are conducting landmine clearance. Eleven females were trained in non-technical survey and demining and will release 51,520 square meters of mine/ERW affected land back to their community in Bamyan province. These women are also being trained in various livelihood opportunities to sustain employment once the clearance is complete, which may include training such as archeology, English language and business skills. Beyond the immediate lifesaving assistance these women provide to their communities, they are also an example to other Afghans through their meaningful and impactful participation in the development of their community.

FUNDING 

Sustained financing is critical to Afghanistan’s plan to be Anti-Personnel mine-free by 2023, in line with the country’s obligations under the Ottawa Treaty. However, funding has dropped to 41% of what it was in 2011. This has casued Afghanistan to fall behind on its Ottawa Treaty 2023 compliance plan, and has undermined its ability to address new humanitarian needs. To meet international commitments and address new threats, Afghanistan has requested US $85.1 million for clearance activities this year out of a total budget of $99.3 million. UNMAS thanks the following donors for their generous support to MAPA through the Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action this project year (1397): Canada, Japan, and DFID. As well as the following donors for continued bilateral support to DMAC and the broader MAPA: Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, OCHA, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States.

Updated: July 2018

Programme of:

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IMPACT

  • IIn 2017, 2,031 Afghans were killed or injured by landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW). Contamination from explosive hazards is – once again – a priority humanitarian concern in Afghanistan. UNMAS is working with the Afghan mine action authority and other mine action stakeholders on a plan to bring these alarming casualty numbers – which are driven by ERW from post-2001-armed clashes, and armed opposition laid victim operated improvised explosive devices (VOIED) which are largely, if not entirely, pressure plate type devices – down as soon as possible.
  • Humanitarian mine action actors in Afghanistan have cleared 18.2 million items of ERW, some 730,450 Anti-Personnel Mines (APM) – including over 750 VOIED, and about 30,000 Anti-Tank (AT) mines. Newer weapon contamination poses a challenge to the national mine action programme as traditional humanitarian mine action advocacy, risk education and clearance approaches developed to deal with legacy landmine and ERW contamination from the Soviet-Afghan War and the subsequent civil period are significantly less effective faced with these new threats.
  • A total of 25,464 hazardous areas have been cleared or otherwise cancelled since 1989. This represents some 3,500 square kilometers of land released since 1989.
  • Over 25 million individual explosive hazard risk education sessions have been delivered by humanitarian mine action actors.

 

ACAP III MONTHLY REPORTS

2017

November

October

September

August

July

June

May

April

March

February

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PRESS RELEASES

2016

Japan Contributes $2 Million to Mine Action in Afghanistan

2015

The Clearance of International Military High Explosive Training Ranges Decreases Civilian Casualties in 2015

Japan Provides $2 Million to Mine Action in Afghanistan