21 July 2019

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Landmines’ Casualties Concerning: Dr. Abdullah

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Saturday, April 06, 2019

Kabul (BNA) Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah on Thursday attended a ceremony commemorating the international day for mines awareness here in Kabul, a statement from the CE press office said.
According to the statement, addressing the ceremony, the State Minister for Natural Disaster Management Najib Aqa Fahim expressed concern that 1,700 square kilometers of land remained littered with landmines in Afghanistan, adding 120 people were killed or wounded in landmine explosions every month.
Fahim said that 3,100 square kilometers of the country’s soil had been cleared of landmines and more than 19 million landmines defused.  He said government’s inattention to increasing landmines clearance budget and negligence of the international community in this regard had troubled the clearing process.
He asked the national unity government leaders to allocate an amount of money from domestic sources for launching the landmine clearing process so donor countries would also find an interest to support the drive.
Fahim said, “Foreign forces who planted explosives around their bases also left without removing the devices.”  The slogan” Afghanistan would be free of landmines until 2023” would not turn into a reality if the government and donor countries did not pay attention to the issue, he added.
Toby Lanzer, UN Secretary General Deputy special representative in Afghanistan, talking about the UN support to landmine clearance campaign in Afghanistan, said they were making all efforts to make Afghanistan free of landmines.
Based on the new law, clearing landmines are the responsibility of the warring sides and they would remove landmines and no longer use them in future for the protection of Afghanistan citizens, he said.
Jim De Hart, assistant US envoy to Afghanistan, said Afghanistan was the country which had the highest number of buried landmines. “Exploding landmines affects the society, economy and security of a country besides causing human losses,” he said.
“We have supported the landmines clearing process besides other cooperation to Afghanistan over the last 17 years, we will also encourage donors in future to help make Afghanistan landmines-free,” he said.
Meanwhile delivering his remarks, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, pointing to more than 100 casualties caused by landmines every month, said the high rate of landmine casualties showed the harshness of war in Afghanistan. “Contamination of 1,700 square kilometers of the country’s soil with landmines is one of our great challenges, we must and definitely would use internal resources for dealing with this issue,” he said.
CE Abdullah said security officials would be ordered to clear landmines and explosive devices in their areas.
 

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