Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 23 September 2019


The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty on 11 September 2002, becoming a State Party on 1 March 2003.

In September 2018, Afghanistan signed into law a regulation on the “prohibition of production, importation, transportation, export, preservation, using, and destruction of anti-personnel mines.”[1] The regulation is published as Annex no. 1 of the Law on Firearms, Ammunitions, and Explosive Materials. Previously, the draft resolution had been prepared in 2013.[2]

Afghanistan submitted its annual Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report covering the calendar year in 2018.

In December 2017, Afghanistan was elected as President for the Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties. During its presidency, Afghanistan pledged to actively promote the convention with States in Central and South Asia that had not yet joined.[3]

Over the past decade, Afghanistan has participated in every Meeting of States Parties. Afghanistan has also participated in all intersessional meetings of the Mine Ban Treaty, except in May 2016. It also attended the Mine Ban Treaty’s First Review Conference in Nairobi in 2004 and its Second Review Conference in Cartagena in 2009, however its delegation to the Third Review Conference in Maputo in June 2014 was denied a transit visa en-route.

On 15 December 2018, Afghanistan voted in favor of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 73/61, the annual resolution promoting the universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty.[4]


Use of victim-activated improvised mines and other improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by anti-government armed groups continued in 2018 and 2019, resulting in further casualties.

Non-state armed groups

Use of victim-activated improvised mines continued in 2018 and 2019. This use has been attributed by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) to anti-government armed groups, primarily the Taliban and Daesh/Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP). In May 2019, Afghanistan informed States Parties that new use of pressure-plate improvised mines, was causing approximately 65 deaths a month., and that the scale of new contamination remains unknown.[5]

UNAMA continued to document pressure-plate improvised mines in the southern region where anti-government armed groups continued to use such devices to hold territory. At least 205 civilian casualties were recorded from pressure-plate improvised mines, more than half of which occurred in the southern region.[6] However, not all pressure-plate improvised mines can be detonated by a human being. An investigation into pressure-plate mine incidents in 2017 by the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) determined that roughly three-quarters of pressure plate-improvised mines were antipersonnel, and that a quarter were antivehicle.[7]

In 2018, UNAMA reported that use of pressure-plate IEDs, while ongoing, had decreased. UNAMA documented a 26% reduction in civilian casualties attributed to pressure-plate improvised mines when compared to the same period in 2017, causing 753 civilian casualties (269 deaths and 484 injured).[8] UNAMA shares the view of Mine Ban Treaty States Parties that victim-activated IEDs function as antipersonnel mines and are prohibited by the Mine Ban Treaty, while command-detonated IEDs are not banned.[9] In July 2018, UNAMA reported that it had engaged in extensive advocacy efforts with anti-government elements on civilian casualties caused by pressure-plate improvised mines for some years.[10]

In September 2019, the Taliban stated to the Monitor that it only used command detonated mines and not mines banned under the Ottawa Convention, and requested the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) use its influence to get other groups to halt mine use in Afghanistan.[11] Previously, in October 2012, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan website, denied the use of victim-activated explosive devices and said it uses only command-detonated explosive devices.[12] In a written response to the UNAMA report on civilian casualties, the Taliban that its IEDs will only be used against military targets and further noted it had created a Department for Prevention of Civilian Casualties.[13] As in previous years, the Taliban have claimed responsibility for an extensive number of attacks against military personnel and vehicles using IEDs.[14]

At least 5 deminers were reported killed in May 2018.[15]

Disturbingly, UNAMA has reported that children continue to be recruited by anti-government groups to emplace IEDs and transport explosives. It is not known if these IEDs are victim-activated improvised landmines from available information.[16]

Production, transfer, stockpile destruction, and discoveries

Afghanistan is not known to have ever produced or exported antipersonnel mines. Throughout many years of armed conflict, large numbers of landmines from numerous sources were sent to various forces fighting in Afghanistan. In recent years, there were no confirmed reports of outside supply of antipersonnel mines to anti-government groups.

Afghanistan reported that it completed its stockpile destruction obligation in October 2007, eight months after its treaty-mandated deadline of 1 March 2007.[17] It reported the destruction of 525,504 stockpiled antipersonnel mines between 2003 and 2007.[18] It is unclear how many stockpiled mines Afghanistan had destroyed at the time it declared completion of the program. It reported that it had destroyed 486,226 stockpiled antipersonnel mines as of April 2007, and later reported that it destroyed 81,595 antipersonnel mines in calendar year 2007.[19]

Previously, there were regular reports of Afghan security forces seizing caches of landmines during military operations or surrendered to the authorities. Afghanistan reported that a total of 221 antipersonnel mines were discovered and destroyed during calendar year 2018 from stocks recovered during military operations, surrendered during disarmament programs, and discovered by civilians.[20] Since Afghanistan’s stockpile destruction deadline, it has reported discovery and destruction of 84,739 antipersonnel mines in previously unknown stockpiles.[21]

Mines retained for training and development

Afghanistan does not retain any live mines for training in mine detection, mine clearance, or mine destruction techniques. It has reported that “mine bodies used in these programmes have had their fuzes removed and destroyed and are no longer capable of being used.”[22] In June 2011, the chief of operations of the Mine Action Coordination Center of Afghanistan (MACCA) confirmed to the Monitor that Afghanistan does not retain any live mines for training mine detection dogs or other purposes.[23]

[1] Annex no. 1 of the Law on Firearms, Ammunition and Explosive Materials, 5 September 2018. Previously, Afghanistan reported that the Ministry of Defense instructed all military forces “to respect the comprehensive ban on antipersonnel mines and the prohibition on use in any situation by militaries or individuals.” Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2008), Form A. In April 2016, Afghanistan wrote that, “Afghanistan has [a] long time back drafted a law as an instrument for the implementation of Article 9 of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention and Convention on Cluster Munitions. This will supplement an existing law banning the use, acquisition, trading and stockpiling of weapons, ammunition and explosive items without the required legal license. This new law relates specifically to the provisions of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and Ottawa Treaty. The Ministry of Justice has already reviewed this draft and advised that it should be made available as an annex to the existing law than processing it as a new law. This is still in the ministry of justice. H.E. The President is aware of it through DMAC and has promised to put pressure on the Ministry of Justice to take it in the review plan of 1395 (April 2016–March 2017).” Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form A, April 2016.

[3] Statement by Suraya Dalil, Permanent Representative of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations in Geneva, Vienna, 21 December 2016.

[5] Statement of Afghanistan, Session on Clearance, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 22 May 2019.

[7] Email to the Monitor from Abdul Qudos Ziaee, UNOPS, Kabul, 13 June 2018. The analysis assumed that for incidents involving improvised mines with a pressure plate that produced more than two casualties as likely antivehicle improvised mines, and incidents with one to two casualties as likely antipersonnel improvised mines.

[11] Monitor meeting with Taliban representatives, Doha, Qatar, 7 September 2019.

[12] “We clearly want to state that our Mujahideen never place live landmines in any part of the country but each mine is controlled by a remote and detonated on military targets only.” “Reaction of Islamic Emirate regarding accusations of UNAMA about explosive devices,” 22 October 2012.

[15]Afghan official: Taliban kill 5 workers clearing land mines,” Associate Press News (Kabul), 21 May 2018.

[17] In April 2007, Afghanistan informed States Parties that while it had destroyed 486,226 stockpiled antipersonnel mines, two depots of antipersonnel mines still remained in Panjsheer province, about 150 kilometers north of Kabul. Provincial authorities did not make the mines available for destruction in a timely fashion. For details on the destruction program and reasons for not meeting the deadline, see, Landmine Monitor Report 2007, pp. 89–90; and Landmine Monitor Report 2008, pp. 79–80.

[18] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2013), Form G. How many stockpiled mines Afghanistan had destroyed at the time it declared completion of the program lacked clarity. See, Landmine Monitor Report 2009, pp. 99–100.

[19] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2007), Form G, 13 May 2008.

[20] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2018), Form B states that 221 antipersonnel mines manufactured in China, Iran, Pakistan, and Russia were seized or recovered during 2018.

[21] The type and number of mines destroyed in each location as well as the dates of destruction have been recorded in detail. Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2018), Form G.

[22] Reported in Afghanistan’s Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form D, each year since 2012.

[23] Email from MACCA, 4 June 2011; and an interview with MACCA, in Geneva, 24 June 2010.