Five-Year Review: State Party Afghanistan ratified the convention on 8 September 2011. Draft legislation is being prepared to enforce the provisions of the convention. Afghanistan has participated in all of the convention’s Meetings of States Parties and served as the convention’s coordinator on victim assistance in 2012–2014. It has promoted universalization of the convention and condemned new use of cluster munitions.
In its initial transparency report for the convention provided in 2012, Afghanistan confirmed it has not used, produced, or transferred cluster munitions. The national armed forces do not stockpile cluster munitions, but continue to find abandoned weapons, including cluster munitions.
The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008, ratified on 8 September 2011, and became a State Party on 1 March 2012.
In April 2015, Afghanistan reported that the Ministry of Justice is considering how to amend existing legislation to enforce the provisions of the convention. A legislative review has advised that existing law should be amended, while a technical committee has provided input on the need for implementing legislation.
Afghanistan submitted its initial Article 7 transparency report for the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 30 August 2012 and has provided updated annual reports since, most recently on 28 April 2015.
Afghanistan participated in most meetings of the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions, but despite actively supporting the ban objective it did not endorse the Wellington Declaration that would have committed it to participating fully in the formal negotiations of the convention. It also did not attend the negotiations in Dublin in May 2008, not even as an observer. Afghanistan attended the convention’s Oslo Signing Conference in December 2008 as an observer, but unexpectedly signed the convention near the end of the conference after the representative announced that he had received instructions and authorization to do so.
Afghanistan plays a positive and active role in the work of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It has participated in every Meeting of States Parties of the convention, including the Fifth Meeting of States Parties in San Jose, Costa Rica in September 2014 where it made it made several statements. Afghanistan has attended all of the convention’s intersessional meetings held in Geneva, except in 2012.
In September 2014, Afghanistan informed States Parties that it “considers universalization of the convention to be an international legal obligation” and committed to “seize every opportunity to promote universalization” of the convention. It has proposed that cluster munitions be discussed by South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member states.
At the Fifth Meeting of States Parties in September 2014, Afghanistan condemned the use of cluster munitions in other countries. Afghanistan has voted in favor of UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolutions condemning the use of cluster munitions in Syria, including Resolution 69/189 on 18 December 2014, which expressed “outrage” at the continued use.
Afghanistan is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It signed the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) in April 1981, but has not ratified.
Afghanistan has not elaborated its views on several important issues relating to interpretation and implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, but United States (US) Department of State cables made public by Wikileaks in 2011 have outlined US interpretation of the convention as it relates to Afghanistan (see section on Foreign stockpiling). In a December 2008 State Department cable, the US outlined its concern over how Afghanistan would interpret the convention’s prohibition on transit and foreign stockpiling, as well as Article 21 on “interoperability” or joint military operations with states not party to the convention.
Use, production, and transfer
In its initial Article 7 report, Afghanistan declared that it has no “production industry” for manufacturing cluster munitions. In September 2011, Afghanistan stated that it “does not use, produce, or transfer Cluster Munitions in the country.”
Soviet forces used air-dropped and rocket-delivered cluster munitions during their invasion and occupation of Afghanistan from 1979–1989, while a non-state armed group used rocket-delivered cluster munitions during the civil war in the 1990s. US aircraft dropped 1,228 cluster bombs containing 248,056 bomblets in 232 strikes on locations throughout the country between October 2001 and early 2002. The Monitor is not aware of additional attacks involving the use of cluster munitions since that time.
Stockpiling and destruction
In September 2013, Afghanistan informed States Parties that concerning Article 3 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, “Afghanistan has destroyed all its Cluster Munitions stocks before the CCM [Convention on Cluster Munitions] entered into force.” In October 2013, it stated that concerning cluster munitions, “Afghanistan is pleased to have destroyed all weaponry of this kind within its military stockpile.” In April 2014, Afghanistan again stated that it destroyed all stockpiles of cluster munitions before the convention entered into force and no longer has a stockpile.
As in the previous year’s report, the April 2014 Article 7 report stated that Afghanistan “has not officially announced” the completion of its stockpiled cluster munitions, but reported that “the Ministry of Defence verbally confirms that there is not any stockpile of cluster munitions left with Afghan National Forces.” This would appear to indicate that there are not any stocks under the jurisdiction and control of national forces, but additional stocks abandoned in the past by the government may continue to be discovered.
Afghanistan’s Article 7 reports have contained information under stockpile destruction indicating significant destruction during 2005–2011 and further destruction in 2012, 2013, and 2014. In April 2015, Afghanistan reported that weapons and ammunition destruction teams from HALO Trust destroyed 187 “cluster munitions” during 2014 under supervision of the Ministry of Defence. Given the government’s statements that there are no longer any stocks, these destroyed items were likely cluster munitions abandoned by other combatants in the past (and recently discovered) and/or cluster munition remnants destroyed in mine action and clearance operations. These are all considered cluster munition remnants under the Convention on Cluster Munitions and not stockpiled cluster munitions.
In 2008, Jane’s Information Group listed Afghanistan as possessing KMG-U dispensers and RBK-250/275 cluster bombs. Standard international reference sources have listed Afghanistan as possessing Grad 122mm and Uragan 220mm surface-to-surface rockets, but it is not known if these included versions with submunition payloads.
According to a December 2008 State Department cable released by Wikileaks, “The United States currently has a very small stockpile of cluster munitions in Afghanistan.” In February 2011, an Afghan human rights group called on the US government and NATO to reveal if it they had stockpiled or used cluster munitions in Afghanistan since the 2002 conflict.
 A joint technical committee is working to prepare draft implementing legislation for both the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions and includes the government’s Department of Mine Clearance, Mine Action Coordination Center of Afghanistan (MACCA), the Mine Dog Center, Afghan Landmine Survivors’ Organization (ALSO), and the ICRC. Statement of Afghanistan, Convention on Cluster Munitions Third Meeting of States Parties, 13 September 2012. See also Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form A, 30 August 2012.
 Afghanistan’s initial Article 7 report covered calendar year 2011, while the 19 May 2013 covered calendar year 2012, the 27 April 2014 update was for calendar year 2013, and the 28 April 2015 update covered calendar year 2014.
 For details on Afghanistan’s cluster munition policy and practice through early 2009, see Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 27–28.
 Two United States (US) Department of State cables subsequently made public by Wikileaks have shown how US officials had sought assurances from the highest levels of the Afghan government that Afghanistan would not join the convention; however, during the Oslo Signing Conference President Karzai decided that Afghanistan should sign the convention. “Afghan views on cluster munitions and Oslo process,” US Department of State cable 08KABUL346 dated 12 February 2008, released by Wikileaks on 20 May 2011.
 “Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution A/RES/69/189, 18 December 2014. Afghanistan voted in favor of similar resolutions on 15 May 2013 and 18 December 2013.
 According to the cable, the US has interpreted the convention as allowing “U.S. forces to store, transfer, and use U.S. cluster munitions in the territory of a State Party.” The cable states that “the United States reads the phrase ‘military cooperation and operations’ in Article 21 to include all preparations for future military operations, transit of cluster munitions through the territory of a State Party, and storage and use of cluster munitions on the territory of a State Party.” “Demarche to Afghanistan on cluster munitions,” US Department of State cable 08STATE134777 dated 29 December 2008, released by Wikileaks on 1 December 2010.
 CMC Fact Sheet prepared by Human Rights Watch (HRW), “Cluster Munitions in the Asia-Pacific Region,” October 2008.
 HRW, “Fatally Flawed: Cluster Bombs and their Use by the United States in Afghanistan,” Vol. 14, No. 7 (G), December 2002.
 Statement of Afghanistan, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 8 April 2014. Notes by the CMC.
 Afghanistan’s initial Article 7 report detailed the destruction between 2005 and 2011 of over 402,000 submunitions of various types. Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 30 August 2012. The subsequent Article 7 reports detail the destruction of 761 additional munitions and submunitions discovered in 2012 and 2013 and also provide an updated accounting of the various submunitions destroyed between 2005 and 2011, listing five types of munitions not included in the initial report. Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, Part II, 27 April 2014; Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 19 May 2013.
 Colin King, ed., Jane’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal 2008, CD-edition, 15 January 2008 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2008).
 Ibid; and International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance 2005–2006 (London: Routledge, 2005), p. 233.
 Afghanistan Rights Monitor, “Annual Report: Civilian Casualties of War, January–December 2010,” p. 15.