Afghanistan

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 04 September 2020

Ten-Year Review: State Party Afghanistan ratified the convention on 8 September 2011 and enacted implementation legislation to enforce its provisions in September 2018. Afghanistan has participated in most of the convention’s meetings. It has voted in favor of annual United Nations (UN) resolutions promoting the convention and has condemned new use of cluster munitions.

In its initial transparency report for the convention, Afghanistan stated that it has not used, produced, or transferred cluster munitions. The national armed forces do not stockpile cluster munitions, but cluster munitions are among abandoned weapons that are discovered, reported and destroyed.

Policy

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.

Afghanistan enacted implementation legislation for the Convention on Cluster Munitions in September 2018. According to the amended Law on Firearms, Ammunition and Explosive Materials, “production, importation, transportation, use, preservation, purchase, sale and storage of anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions or their key components are punishable by the perpetrator in accordance with the law.”[1] The law was prepared following a 2012 review that recommended existing legislation be amended and it is reviewed further under Interpretive issues.[2]

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 in June 2020.[3]

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.[4] 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.[5]

Afghanistan plays a positive and active role in the work of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It has attended most of the convention’s Meetings of States Parties, including the Ninth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in September 2019. It participated in the First Review Conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia in September 2015 as well as intersessional meetings in Geneva in 2011–2015.[6] Afghanistan is serving as coordinator of the convention’s working group on clearance and risk reduction from 2019–2021.

In December 2019, Afghanistan voted in favor of a UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution on the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which urges states outside the convention to “join as soon as possible.”[7] Afghanistan has voted in favor of the annual UNGA resolution promoting the convention since it was first introduced in 2015.

Afghanistan has condemned the use of cluster munitions and it has voted in favor of UNGA resolutions condemning the use of cluster munitions in Syria.[8] At the First Review Conference, Afghanistan condemned any cluster munition use by any actor and commented that “States Parties should join hands to end all suffering caused by these indiscriminate and inhumane weapons.”[9]

Afghanistan is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is also party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.

Interpretive issues

Afghanistan’s implementing legislation outlines prohibited activities including use, production, stockpiling and transfer, but it does not include assistance with banned activities. It does not prohibit assistance in the form of direct or indirect investment of public and private funds in companies that manufacture cluster munitions.

Use, production, and transfer

In its initial Article 7 report, Afghanistan declared that it has no “production industry” for manufacturing cluster munitions.[10] Previously, in 2011, Afghanistan stated that it “does not use, produce, or transfer Cluster Munitions in the country.”[11]

The Monitor is not aware of any use of cluster munitions in Afghanistan since 2001–2002, when United States (US) forces used 1,228 cluster bombs containing 248,056 submunitions in 232 strikes on locations across the country.[12]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.[13]

Stockpiling and destruction

In September 2013, Afghanistan informed States Parties that it “destroyed all its cluster munitions stocks before” the convention entered into force and therefore complies with its obligations under Article 3 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.[14] In October 2013, it stated that concerning cluster munitions, “Afghanistan is pleased to have destroyed all weaponry of this kind within its military stockpile.”[15]

In 2013, the Ministry of Defence said the Afghan National Forces does not possess cluster munition stocks.[16] Additional stocks abandoned in the past by the government may continue to be discovered.

Foreign stockpiling and transit

The amended Law on Firearms, Ammunition and Explosive Materials does not address transit and foreign stockpiling of cluster munitions by non-State Parties in its territory or airspace.

The US State Department outlined US concerns 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 in a cable made public by Wikileaks in 2011.[17] The December 2008 cable also revealed that, “The United States currently has a very small stockpile of cluster munitions in Afghanistan.”

 



[1] Decree No. 307, published in the Official Gazette (No. 855) of 1384 as Annex no. 1 of the Law on Firearms, Ammunitions and Explosive Materials, enacted 5 September 2018. Unofficial translation by the Monitor. Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form A, 20 April 2019.

[2] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form A, 25 April 2016. A joint technical committee prepared draft implementing legislation for both the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions and included 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.

[3] Afghanistan’s initial Article 7 report covered calendar year 2011, and subsequent reports have covered the previous calendar year.

[4] For details on Afghanistan’s cluster munition policy and practice through early 2009, see Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 27–28.

[5] 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.

[6] Afghanistan did not attend the Eighth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in September 2018 or the Seventh Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in September 2017.

[7]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 74/62, 12 December 2019.

[8]Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution 69/189, 18 December 2014. Afghanistan was absent from the vote on the annual UNGA resolution in 2015–2017 and abstained from the vote on the annual resolution in 2018–2019.

[9] Statement of Afghanistan, Convention on Cluster Munitions First Review Conference, Dubrovnik, 9 September 2015.

[11] Statement by Dr. Zia Nezam, Senior Advisor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Convention on Cluster Munitions Second Meeting of States Parties, Beirut, 14 September 2011.

[13] Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) Fact Sheet prepared by HRW, “Cluster Munitions in the Asia-Pacific Region,” October 2008.

[14] Statement of Afghanistan, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fourth Meeting of States Parties, Lusaka, 10 September 2013. 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. Statement of Afghanistan, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 8 April 2014. Notes by the CMC.

[15] Statement of Afghanistan, UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 14 October 2013.

[17] According to the cable, the US interprets the convention as allowing “U.S. forces to store, transfer, and use U.S. cluster munitions in the territory of a State Party” and 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.


Impact

Last updated: 02 December 2020

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Treaty Status | Management & Coordination | Impact (contamination & casualties) | Addressing the Impact (land release, risk education, victim assistance)

Country Summary

The demining program of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is the world’s largest and oldest. A Mine Action Centre for Afghanistan was established in 1989 by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA). A Department of Mine Clearance was created in 1990 to coordinate the Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan (MAPA).[1] In 2005, this became the Directorate of Mine Action Coordination (DMAC), a department of the Afghan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA).[2] The transition from the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) to national ownership by the DMAC in November 2016 was completed by May 2018.[3]

Afghanistan, party to both the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions, has seen its clearance obligations significantly increase due to ongoing conflict and contamination by improvised mines, which have also contributed to a sharp upturn in casualties in recent years.[4] Landmine contamination is currently estimated at 191km², although some contamination post-2001, termed “initial hazard areas,” still requires survey to determine the full extent. The cluster munition contamination comprises 5.8km² in two provinces, although DMAC has reported some evidence of additional cluster munition contamination which requires further investigation.[5]

Risk education in Afghanistan is conducted by a number of national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs). To a large extent, risk education is integrated with clearance and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) activities, although in 2019 UNMAS adopted a more targeted approach. Risk education is included within the school curriculum for grades 1–12 and is increasingly being integrated within the broader humanitarian sector.

Victim assistance needs in Afghanistan remain enormous. Continued conflict and insecurity have caused damage and disruption to public services and have negatively affected healthcare services. The resulting war trauma, physical injuries and mass displacement have increased the need for health services and medical care, far surpassing the capacity and resources of the services available through Afghanistan’s health system.[6] While there have been improvements in the geographic coverage of healthcare and physical rehabilitation, these remain insufficient to meet the needs.

Movement restrictions due to conflict, a lack of accessible roads, and the cost of transport, were persistent obstacles to victim assistance in some parts of the country. Afghanistan had no specific budget line for victim assistance and state funding was limited to the small amount of benefits provided to persons with disabilities registered as war victims.[7]

Treaty status

Treaty ratification overview

Mine Ban Treaty

State Party

Convention on Cluster Munitions

State Party

 

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

State Party

 

Clearance deadline extension requests

Afghanistan became a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty on 1 March 2003, with its Article 5 deadline set for 1 March 2013. Afghanistan requested a 10-year Article 5 deadline extension until 2023.[8] Afghanistan reported in 2020 that it will not be able to meet the 2023 deadline due to decreased levels of funding. In recent years, Afghanistan has only been able to secure about 50% of the required funding.[9] There is also new, extensive contamination by improvised mines since 2001, which has added to the total extent of clearance required. Afghanistan estimates that around 400km² of land contaminated by antipersonnel mines, antivehicle mines, abandoned improvised mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) will remain uncleared by April 2023, requiring an extension of at least five years (until 2028) to clear the remaining areas.[10]

Afghanistan’s deadline for cluster munition clearance is 1 March 2022, but Afghanistan is uncertain whether it will be able to meet this deadline.[11] Cluster munition clearance has been hampered by funding constraints, competing priorities and insecurity, which has hindered access to some cluster munition-affected areas.[12] In 2020, Afghanistan reported that there was evidence of other contaminated areas that need assessment and survey.

Management and coordination

Mine action management and coordination

Mine action management and coordination overview[13]

Mine action commenced

1989

National mine action management actors

The Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan, led by DMAC, a department of the State Ministry of Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs

 

Transition to national ownership was completed in June 2018

UN agencies

UNOCHA from 1989–2001

 

UNMAS from 2001: provides technical support and funding through the Voluntary Trust Fund

Other actors

DMAC receives capacity development and financial support from the US Department of State Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA)

DMAC also receives technical support from ITF Enhancing Human security, Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) and the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD)

Mine action legislation

Regulation on the prohibition of production, importation, transportation export, preservation, use and destruction of antipersonnel mines and cluster munitions was published in 2018 as Annex 1 of the 2005 Law on Firearms, Ammunitions and Explosive Materials

Mine action strategic and operational plans

Mine Action Strategic Plan 2016–2020

10-year operational workplan, April 2013–March 2023.

MAPA Annual Operation Work Plan 1399 (April 2020–March 2021)

Mine action standards

Afghanistan Mine Action Standards (AMAS)

 

A standard for clearance of improvised mines adopted in March 2019

 

AMAS planning and priority setting reviewed in 2019

In 2019, DMAC underwent a Portfolio, Programme and Project Management (P3M3) assessment conducted by ILX. Improvements were reported in stakeholder management, governance, resource management, benefits management, financial management and risk management. The assessment provided recommendations for further improvement, including changes to the structure of DMAC. DMAC is now working to implement the recommendations in consultation with donors.[14]

ITF Enhancing Human Security supports DMAC with Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) training and program management skills development, and the NPA assists the PM/WRA in monitoring and evaluating clearance projects.[15]

Strategies and policies

Afghanistan’s five-year plan for 2016–2020 was adopted in January 2016 and set out four strategic goals: facilitate development; integrate mine action into other sectors including health, education and economy; reduce the impact of mines, ERW, and mitigate the impact of mine incidents; and mainstream gender and diversity.[16] The plan acknowledged that continued use of improvised mines could prevent Afghanistan meeting its Article 5 deadline.[17] DMAC plans to develop the next strategic plan during 2020–2021.[18] GICHD plans to support this process.[19]

DMAC also has a 10-year Mine Ban Treaty workplan for April 2013–March 2023, which provides a basis for operational planning, and an annual MAPA operational plan. The plan for April 2020–March 2021 was under review by mine action stakeholders as of April 2020.[20]

Legislation and standards

In September 2018, the regulation on the prohibition of production, importation, transportation, export, preservation, use and destruction of anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions was published as Annex 1 of the 2005 Law on Firearms, Ammunitions and Explosive Materials.[21]

An “Abandoned Improvised Mine (AIM) technical working group” was set up in November 2017 to draft terminology and a policy for tackling improvised mines.[22] In March 2019, Afghanistan became the first country to adopt a national standard for the clearance of improvised mines.[23]

Information management

IMSMA was introduced in Afghanistan in 2004, and the entire dataset was migrated from the original database system.[24] DMAC currently operates an IMSMA NG (Next Generation) Version 6 database but has started preparations for an upgrade to IMSMA Core.

In November 2019, DMAC began to employ the GICHD-developed data collection tool known as Mine Action Resources (MARS), for post-demining impact assessment.[25]

National and global goals

Afghanistan’s five-year plan, 2016–2020, included incorporating mine action into Afghanistan’s National Priority Programs and Sustainable Development Goals. The plan also aims to support the mainstreaming of mine action across other sectors including education, healthcare, agriculture and rural rehabilitation, social protection, governance, infrastructure, security and the private sector.[26]

In 2019, mine action was mainstreamed into a broader UN-led study, the Whole of Afghanistan Assessment, which identified inter-sectoral needs across all 34 provinces to guide humanitarian programming.[27]

Gender and diversity

The National Mine Action Strategic Plan also includes a commitment to mainstream gender across the mine action program as one of the four goals of the plan. This includes developing a gender and diversity policy; increasing the employment of women, people with disabilities and other marginalized groups; and to budget for gender-based activities.[28] The first all-women mine clearance team was established in 2018 and is supported by UNMAS.[29] MAPA also evaluates proposals for mine action based on their technical approach, budget and consideration of gender.[30]

Risk education management and coordination

Risk education management and coordination overview

Government focal points

DMAC

Coordination mechanisms

Explosive Ordnance Risk Education Technical Working Group (EORE-TWG)

Risk education standards

Afghanistan Mine Action Standard for EORE

 

Coordination

Risk education activities in Afghanistan are coordinated through DMAC, with its risk education department chairing the EORE-TWG. The EORE-TWG meets on an ad hoc basis when required and meets routinely once every two months. A mailing list is maintained by DMAC’s risk education department to ensure that urgent matters can be discussed and approved via email.[31]

The EORE-TWG reviews and approves risk education materials. The DMAC risk education department reviews all risk education project documents, monitors risk education activities and sets priorities. It also provides training and assesses the capacity of organizations to deliver both formal and informal risk education. DMAC also provides accreditation of organizations through its quality management department and risk education department.[32]

Strategies

Risk education is included within Afghanistan’s National Mine Action Strategy, with strategic goals and objectives set to a timeframe.

National Standards and guidelines

There is an Afghanistan Mine Action Standard for EORE that is maintained and updated by DMAC’s risk education department in coordination with the quality management department.

DMAC is responsible for accreditation for mine risk education, which is awarded to risk education operators and to each risk education activity or project.

Victim assistance management and coordination

Victim assistance management and coordination overview[33]

Government focal points

The Ministry for Martyrs and Disabled Affairs (MMD) is the lead government body for activities related to victim assistance and persons with disabilities (Previously, the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs and the Disabled (MoLSAMD) had the leading role)

 

Other focal points include: the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), Ministry of Education (MoE), and the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA)

Coordination mechanisms

Victim Assistance Coordination Meetings, the Disability Stakeholder Coordination Group (DSCG), Disability and Physical Rehabilitation Taskforce, and several other groups

Plans/strategies

The MMD was developing a 10-year national disability strategy for the period 2019–2027

By the end of 2019, the drafting of the National Disability Strategy was finalized and was pending approval by the National Disability Committee

Disability sector integration

 

The victim assistance department of DMAC technically supports the MMD to deliver victim assistance and to establish cooperation with some 35 relevant actors including line ministries and other organizations

 

The MMD is the focal point for victim assistance issues, acts as a coordination center for both the conflict victim and disability sectors, and participates in high-level meetings

 

The MoPH is the coordinating body for community-based rehabilitation, physical rehabilitation and psychosocial support services. It also coordinates training programs for physiotherapists and healthcare providers

 

The Ministry of Education coordinates inclusive education and special education

The Technical Vocational Education and Training Authority (TVETA) is working to achieve better integration of victims and persons with disabilities in technical and vocational education

Emergency sector integration

 

 

The Health Cluster provides leadership to humanitarian health responses in order to fill gaps through coordination and supports the mobilization of resources

Survivor inclusion and participation

Many leaders of disabled people’s organizations are survivors of war and landmines and have provided representation in annual planning, consultation, and coordination processes

Although persons with disabilities and their representative organizations were formally included in decision-making and participated in the various coordination bodies, it was reported that their views were not fully taken into account. Survivors and other victims were involved in short-term decisions only. Thus, being invited to meetings was seen as a means of appeasement

 

A National Authority for martyrs and persons with disabilities was formed as a government entity acting as a line ministry for the leadership, coordination, information management, and oversight of services provided to persons with disabilities and war victims. In October 2018, the National Authority became independent from the MoLSAMD, and subsequently was promoted to the higher position of State Ministry for Martyrs and Disabled Affairs through a presidential decree.[34]

In September 2019, the Acting Minister of Finance and Chief Advisor on Infrastructure to the president, met with the State Minister for Martyrs and Disabled Affairs regarding financing for reforms in the MMD as well as budgetary issues and the lack of resources. It was noted that a committee on reform measures should be established, consisting of the pension department of the Ministry of Finance, the population registration department, and the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Services Commission.[35]

Laws and policies

The Law on the Rights and Benefits of Persons with Disabilities, along with the Law on the Rights and Benefits for Relatives of Martyrs and Disappeared Persons, remained the two key legislative provisions. The Law on the Rights and Benefits of Persons with Disabilities was amended and is now with the Ministry of Justice for review.[36]

In 2019, the first draft Afghanistan National Disability Strategy was developed and is under review by a technical committee comprising of UNMAS, Humanity & Inclusion (HI), and the Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief (ACBAR). The strategy is expected to be finalized by October 2020.[37] DMAC also supported the Ministry for Martyrs and Disabled Affairs in developing a policy for monitoring and evaluation.[38]

The Independent Commission for Administrative Reform and Civil Servants developed and passed a policy in 2019 for hiring people with disabilities, setting a target of 3% within government and ensuring accessibility for disabled persons within places of work.[39] On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, held on 3 December 2019, the president of Afghanistan, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, stated support for this policy, along with ensuring accessibility as a consideration in all new construction projects, and making the year 1399 (2020) the Disability Support Year.[40]

An inter-ministerial concept was finalized and approved by the Council of Ministers, requiring all government entities to provide plans for victim and disability assistance. The MMD plans to develop an integrated action plan for 1399 (2020–2021).[41]

Impact

Contamination

Contamination (as of December 2019)[42]

Landmine contamination

191km² (CHA:136km² and SHA:55km²)*

Extent of contamination: Massive

Cluster munition remnant contamination

5.8km² (CHA) in seven areas

Extent of contamination: Small

Other ERW contamination**

Antivehicle mines: 311km² (CHA: 164km² and SHA: 147km²)

ERW: 147km² (CHA)

Other identified hazardous areas (firing range): 630km²

Initially identified hazardous areas: 299km² (require non-technical survey)

New landmine contamination

Extent of contamination: Unknown

(victim-activated improvised mine contamination)

Total contamination estimate (including mines and ERW)

1,302km² (CHA: 1,083km² and SHA: 219km²)

Note: CHA=Confirmed Hazardous Area; SHA=Suspected Hazardous Area; ERW=Explosive Remnants of War; NTS=Non-Technical Survey.

* In April 2020, DMAC reported different figures: antipersonnel mine contamination was 171km² (CHA: 120km² and SHA: 51km²) and improvised mine contamination was 37km².

** The Article 7 report figures for 2019 are different, reporting 280km² antivehicle mine contamination and 114km² ERW contamination.

Mine Contamination

Afghanistan is one of the countries most affected by mines and ERW as a result of almost four decades of armed conflict, including the war of resistance following the Soviet invasion of 1979, internal armed conflicts between 1992 and 2001, and the United States (US)-led coalition intervention in 2001. Ongoing conflict between the government, the Taliban and other non-state armed groups (NSAGs) is continuing to add to the contamination, particularly by improvised mines, which have overtaken legacy mined areas as the biggest humanitarian threat.[43]

DMAC has had to reassess Afghanistan’s clearance obligations under Article 5 to take account of extensive contamination by improvised mines. DMAC reports that improvised mines are now being surveyed as suspected hazardous areas (SHA) or confirmed hazardous areas (CHA) and are included within the Article 5 workplan.[44]

As of 31 December 2019, landmine contamination totaled 191km², of which 1,885 areas were CHA totaling 136km²,while 213 areas were SHA totaling 55km².[45] Landmine contamination in Afghanistan has increased due to contamination since 2001, much of which has been recorded as Initial Hazardous Areas (IHA) until non-technical survey and technical survey is conducted to determine the full extent of contamination. This amounts to 299km².

Cluster munition contamination

DMAC reports that as of the end of December 2019, there were seven areas in two provinces with cluster munition contamination totaling 5.8km². However, DMAC noted that there is some evidence, generated through local requests, of additional cluster munition contamination which requires further investigation.[46]

The seven sites are affected by remnants of the 1,228 cluster munitions containing some 248,056 BLU-97B submunitions dropped by the US between October 2001 and early 2002.[47] Cluster munition remnants are said to affect around 7,000 people, and block access to grazing and agricultural land.[48] Soviet forces also used cluster munitions and demining operators continue to find unexploded submunitions on demining and battle area clearance tasks.[49]

ERW Contamination

DMAC recorded 147km² of CHA with ERW contamination as of the end of 2019. DMAC has also reported 630km² of contamination in relation to firing ranges.[50] Legacy ERW contamination dating back to before 2001 was previously reported to be 588km2,but the extent of contamination has continued to rise over recent years due to conflict between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and government military forces against NGAGs.[51]

Casualties

Casualties overview[52]

Casualties
All know mine/ERW casualties (between 1978 and 2019) At least 33,771 casualties (9,080 killed and 25,691 injured)
Casualties in 2019
Annual total 1,538 (decrease from 2,234 in 2018)
Survival outcome 579 killed; 959 injured
Device type causing casualties antipersonnel mines: 25 casualties; antivehicle mines: 4 casualties; ERW: 654 casualties; improvised mines: 850 casualties; unexploded submunitions: 5 casualties
Civilian status all casualties were civilians
Age and gender

747 adults (112 women, 635 men)

791 children (124 girls, 667 boys)

 

Casualties in 2019

Casualty total for 2019 for Afghanistan is based on Monitor analysis of mine/ERW casualty data provided by DMAC. Data collection in Afghanistan is affected by ongoing conflict.[53]

Most casualties in Afghanistan in 2019 were caused by improvised mines, followed by casualties caused by ERW. In 2019, there was an increase in the number of recorded adult casualties compared to 2018 (611 adult casualties), and a decrease in the number of child casualties (851). However, children still comprised the largest number of casualties (791 children compared to 747 adults). Men and boys, were by far the most affected, with a total of 1,302 casualties compared to 236 woman and girl casualties. As in previous years, the reporting of military casualties was especially challenging. After May 2017, the Afghan military stopped releasing casualty figures. In 2019, no military casualties were recorded due to a lack of adequate reporting; a significant change compared to the 642 military casualties recorded in 2018. This was due to a change in reporting, whereby it was not possible to distinguish military casualties of victim-activated mine explosions from those caused by command-detonated improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which are not included in Monitor data. In 2018, the Monitor recorded substancially more military and NSAG casualties than in previous years from other sources.[54]

Both DMAC (and previously, as MACCA) and the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), have expressed concerns about civilian casualties from ERW associated with the closure of ISAF bases and high-explosive firing ranges. Many of the ranges were not sufficiently cleared of ERW prior to closure.[55]

UNAMA reported that most of the improvised mines in Afghanistan had the “trigger sensitivity of an anti-personnel mine.”[56] According to UNAMA’s reporting improvised mines constructed as pressure-plate IEDs (PP-IEDs) in Afghanistan “are detonated by any person, including children stepping on them or any vehicles, such as civilian vehicles or tractors driving over them.”[57] In June 2019, UNAMA stated that it “reiterates that victim-activated pressure-plate IEDs function like anti-personnel landmines, which are prohibited under the Ottawa Convention on Anti-Personnel Mines”[58] In 2020, UNAMA again stated that “[p]ressure-plate IEDs, which are victim-operated, have been documented to function as ‘improvised anti-personnel mines’ in Afghanistan.”[59]

For 2019, UNAMA reported 650 (275 killed and 375 injured) civilian PP-IED improvised mine type casualties.[60] UNAMA uses a strict and exacting methodology for verification of civilian casualties and acknowledges that this, together with limitations in the operating environment, creates the possibility of under-reporting. UNAMA describes its methodology and limitations on its data as follows: “For verification of each incident involving a civilian casualty, UNAMA requires at least three different and independent types of sources, i.e. victim, witness, medical practitioner, local authorities, confirmation by party to the conflict, community leader or other sources…Where UNAMA is not satisfied with information concerning an incident, it will not consider it as verified. Unverified incidents are not included in this report…UNAMA does not claim that the statistics presented in this report are complete and acknowledges possible under-reporting of civilian casualties given limitations inherent in the operating environment.”[61]

Cluster munition casualties

Since 1980, 756 casualties of cluster munition remnants have been recorded. In addition, at least 26 casualties during cluster munition strikes have been recorded.[62] DMAC/MACCA data includes 249 unexploded submunition casualties since 1981.[63] In 2019, five casualties resulted from unexploded submunitions, compared to one casualty in 2018. Previously, unexploded submunition casualties were reported in 2015, when four casualties were reported.

Addressing the impact

Mine Action

Operators and service providers

The table below lists national and international clearance operators in Aghanistan. There were also 22 commercial companies accredited in 2019.

Clearance operators

National

 

Afghan Technical Consultants (ATC) (since 1990)

Demining Agency for Afghanistan (DAFA) (since 1990, originally as the South-West Agency for Demining)

Mine Clearance Planning Agency (MCPA) (since 1990)

Mine Detection and Dog Centre (MDC) (since 1989)

Organization for Mine Clearance and Afghan Rehabilitation (OMAR) (since 1990)

Agency for Rehabilitation and Energy Conservation in Afghanistan (AREA) (since 2016)

International

Danish Demining Group (DDG) (since 1999)

The HALO Trust (since 1988)

The Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (Fondation Suisse de Déminage, FSD) (since 2001)

Clearance

Land release overview[64]

Landmine clearance in 2019

28.01km² cleared and 7,801 mines destroyed

Landmine clearance in 2015–2019*

2015: 13.44km²

2016: 27.12km²

2017: 28.12km²

2018: 30.04km²

2019: 28.01km²

 

Total land cleared: 126.73km²

Cluster munition remnants clearance in 2019

2.72km2 cleared and 86 submunitions destroyed

 

Cluster munition remnants clearance in 2010–2019**

9.74km² cleared and 315 submunitions destroyed

Progress

Landmines

Behind target: expects to submit a request for an extension until 2028

Cluster munition remnants

Uncertain

Note: ERW=Explosive Remnants of War; AIM=Abandoned Improvised Mines.

* Clearance figures include: antipersonnel mines, abandoned improvised mines, and antivehicle mines.

** The figures provided to the Monitor by DMAC for the 10-year period differ to the reporting of clearance in Afghanistan’s Article 7 reports. Clearance of cluster munitions was conducted in Afghanistan from 2017–2019. According to the Article 7 reports for this period, a total of 9.7km² was reported cleared and 731 submunitions were destroyed.

DMAC reported to the Monitor that Afghanistan would be unable to meet its 1 March 2023 Article 5 clearance deadline (landmines) due to:

  • Funding having decreased since 2012, meaning only around 50% of planned clearance targets were reached;
  • New contamination by improvised mines and ERW which requires further survey
  • Continued insecurity which has prevented access to some of the contaminated areas in recent years;
  • Lack of expertise, training, and equipment for responding to the AIM contamination problem; and
  • Stand-down of clearance teams due to COVID-19.

DMAC has stated that Afghanistan will need an extension for another five years from April 2023 to March 2028. DMAC is planning to submit an extension request in early 2022.[65]

DMAC has stated that Afghanistan is uncertain whether it will meet its 1 March 2022 Article 4 deadline for clearance (cluster munition remnants) due to evidence of additional cluster munition contamination, which requires assessment and survey. Competing priorities also make it difficult for Afghanistan to address the contamination.

Land release: landmines

Afghanistan has conducted several surveys to better quantify the scale of mine contamination. A national survey project was conducted in 1993,[66] followed by a general survey process from 1994–2002. The Afghanistan Landmine Impact Survey (ALIS) was conducted from 2003–2004, and identified 2,571 affected communities and a total contaminated area of 716km², of which 445.6km² (62.3% of the total) contained antipersonnel mines, antivehicle mines, or a mixture of the two.[67] However, the ALIS and all following re-survey efforts have been unable to cover the full extent of contamination nationwide due to ongoing conflict, insecurity and a lack of access to certain areas.[68] New contamination still has to be surveyed.

Planning and priority setting

The Afghanistan NMAS 03.03 on Mine Action Planning and Prioritization employs a hazard ranking system to help prioritize clearance. It assigns a rank of 1 to 6 for each hazard, with 1 designating the highest priority. The assessment of each hazard includes the contamination type, the proximity to communities, recent victims, blocking of vital infrastructure, agricultural land or residential areas, and security. Projects are then prioritized based on their impact level.[69]

Clearance

DMAC reports having cleared nearly 78.8% of all known “legacy” contamination left from pre-2001 conflicts. However, there remain 4,048 contaminated areas totaling 1,601km², including 982km² of post-2001 contamination and 619km² of contamination pre-2001. Included in the post-2001 contamination is 630km² of firing range areas, and 246km² of initial hazardous areas which needs to be fully surveyed.[70]

DMAC report that since 2013, improvements in land release procedures have led to a considerable decrease in the cost of clearance per square kilometer for almost all types of contamination.[71]

During 2019, Afghanistan cleared 28.01km² despite ongoing conflict. This is a reduction from the 30.04km² cleared in 2018.

The HALO Trust reported developing capacity in Helmand province to deal with AIMs in 2019.[72]

The Cabinet of the Afghanistan’s government approved a budget of AFN20 million (US$250,000) for a demining project to be implemented in Khost province, to clear 403,423m² in two districts. The budget was not delivered during 2019 but was expected to be provided in 2020.[73]

Border cooperation

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed between Afghanistan and Tajikistan, allows Afghanistan to conduct mine action activities in Afghan border areas that are more easily accessible from Tajikistan. The Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (Fondation Suisse de Déminage, FSD) is conducting demining and risk education in Badakhshan province, accessing the area from Tajikistan.[74]

Land release: cluster munition remnants

Afghanistan reported to the Monitor that 2.72km² of cluster munition contaminated land was cleared in 2019, with 86 submunitions destroyed.[75]

Firing ranges

DMAC and the New Zealand Defense Force (NZDF) signed a Memorandum of Arrangement to clear the four firing ranges that were used by the NZDF in Afghanistan. The NZDF will provide the required funds for program management, demining, risk education and victim assistance, through competitive tendering to implementing partners with accreditation in Afghanistan. DMAC will work closely with NZDF to facilitate, coordinate and quality assure the work.[76]

Deminer safety

Security and ongoing conflict in Afghanistan have affected mine clearance operations, slowing and sometimes halting progress.[77] In 2019, no deminers were reported killed or injured, which compares to six deminers killed and 18 injured in 2018 as a result of security incidents.[78] However, security issues persist, including the theft of demining equipment and personal belongings; kidnapping; threats of fighting between Afghan security forces and NSAGs; emplacement of IEDs along routes demining staff use; and the recent COVID-19 pandemic.

Risk Education

Operators and service providers

Risk education operators

Type of ogranization

Name of organization

Type of activity

Governmental

Ministry of Education

MoU to support coordination of risk education in the school curriculum

Independent General Directorate of Kuchies (Nomads)

MoU to support provision of risk education

Ministry of Information and Culture

MoU to support dissemination of risk education through national television, magazines and radio

Ministry of Public Health

MoU under negotiation to support provision of risk education

National

ATC, DAFA, MCPA, MDC, OMAR and AREA

All are reported to conduct risk education integrated with clearance operations

International

Association for Aid and Relief-Japan (AAR-Japan)

Provides risk education using short films, posters and picture-story cards

Danish Demining Group (DDG)

Provides risk education to Afghan returnees in encashment centers run by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), at International Organization for Migration (IOM) transit centers, and at border crossings in the east, south and west

Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD)

Provides risk education in advance of and integrated with survey and clearance operations in remote northeast Afghanistan, in the Panj river valley. Access to areas of operation are gained through Tajikistan

The HALO Trust

Risk education integrated with survey and clearance; provided risk education as part of a 2019–2020 project with Action Against Hunger

Humanity & Inclusion (HI)

Risk education is an integrated part of HI’s “Emergency Mobile Team Project,” which also comprises physical rehabilitation and psychosocial support targeting internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees and host communities

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

Provides risk education sessions as part of broader child protection work

United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS)

Supports implementing partners (one government organization, four international NGOs, and five national NGOs); risk education is integrated with clearance, with quick response EOD teams, and into other humanitarian and development interventions

 

Beneficiary numbers

Beneficiary numbers in 2019

Risk education operator

Men

Boys

Women

Girls

FSD

3,454

3,698

2,040

2,683

The Halo Trust

111,791

184,494

280,934

215,522

HI

6,966

15,774

7,746

11,543

UNMAS

380,159

168,948

50,455

89,637

In addition to the disaggregated figures on beneficiaries reported in the table, AAR-Japan reports providing risk education to approximately 60,000 people per year,[79] while UNICEF reported reaching 55,000 children in Afghanistan in 2019.[80]

Implementation

Risk education in Afghanistan is provided for both landmines and cluster munitions, and in both rural and urban areas. Operators reported providing risk education that included the threat of all explosive ordnance, including landmines, antivehicle mines, unexploded submunitions and other ERW. UNMAS has begun providing messages on improvised mines and booby-traps,[81] while HI has some specific messages in their risk education guidelines on small arms and light weapons.[82]

Target groups

To support the targeting of risk education, DMAC maintains a priority scoring matrix enabling it to prioritize the most affected populations in terms of their proximity to the hazards, the number of recent conflicts, incidences of armed conflict, and other factors.[83] Risk education operators reported that the IMSMA works well for helping to target and prioritize risk education efforts.

DMAC criteria for risk education targeting includes:

  • Communities living in proximity to the hazards;
  • Returnees and IDPs;
  • Nomads;
  • Scrap metal collectors;
  • Travelers; and
  • Aid workers; through the Landmine Safety Program that provides risk education briefings to enable them to conduct their work in contaminated areas.[84]

Children are reported to be most vulnerable to the threat. This is supported by the 2019 casualty figures, which show that children accounted for the majority of casualties (791 child casualties in 2019, compared to 747 adults). However, men and boys are the most affected. A Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP) survey conducted by DDG in 2018 reported that adolescent boys tend to get injured or killed by ordnance during recreational activities and while tending to animals and livestock.[85] Girls are less likely to be injured or killed by mines and ERW than boys.

FSD, which works in the remote Panj valley in Afghanistan’s northeast, targets mainly farming communities and schools for risk education. The Pamir mountainous area was heavily mined and is contaminated with ERW, and has a high civilian casualty rate.[86]

Delivery methods

DMAC, in consultation with its technical working group and with support from its implementing partners and donors, has introduced child-focused risk education materials that have been piloted and are ready to be used in field operations. This is a significant step toward employing engaging content that will likely change the behavior of children and young adults.[87] Risk education is also included within the school curriculum for children in grades 1–12.

Although women and girls are usually at less risk than men and boys, risk education providers in Afghanistan reported it was often difficult to access women and girls for risk education. To address this, risk education is delivered through “couple” teams of one man and one woman as a way to reach at-risk populations. In 2019, there were a total of 59 couple teams and 16 non-couple teams delivering risk education.[88] The main means of delivery are direct face-to-face risk education and media outreach, particularly for vulnerable communities in remote and hard-to-reach areas.

Afghanistan has low electronic and digital media use, particularly of social media and apps. Face-to-face sessions and paper-based media are therefore seen to be the most effective means of reaching the target audience.[89] However, mobile cinema is also used to reach communities, particularly children and young adults, while community volunteers are used to sustain risk education efforts in hard-to-reach areas.

UNMAS supported the development of one-minute videos on the two most popular TV channels in Afghanistan, with one video aimed at adults and the other aimed specifically at men. The videos are aired in both national languages and are also available on Facebook, which is one of the more commonly used social media sites in the country.[90] UNMAS also supported the use of radio public service announcements in five provinces, providing messaging on what to do after a conflict; how parents can protect children; and messages aimed specifically at travelers.[91]

IDPs and returnees are targeted for risk education at UNHCR and International Organization for Migration (IOM) encashment and transit centers, using video and direct presentation approaches. Many of the Afghan returnees are coming from Iran and Pakistan, and have limited knowledge of the dangers of explosive ordnance.

Specific groups such as travelers are targeted through the provision of risk education in bus stations. Bus drivers are targeted so that they can pass the message on to passengers. Drivers are also sensitized to the dangers of overtaking and using shortcuts.

Major developments in 2019

DDG conducted a nationwide Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practice survey in 2018, which has informed the ongoing risk education program in 2019.[92] UNMAS reported a move to behavior change methodology and hired a behavior change communication company, MAGENTA Consulting, to research the different psychological, social and environmental factors to better inform risk education messaging strategies.[93]

DMAC reported that to enhance the reach of risk education, training was provided in 2019 to other humanitarian actors to enable them to provide informal risk education sessions through their field offices. Child protection actors were targeted through UNICEF’s ‘child protection in emergencies’ and ‘children on the move’ clusters.[94] UNICEF also initiated the development of school materials to educate children and their families about mine risk and prevention. The school booklets should be completed and distributed in 2020.[95]

As part of a 2019–2020 joint project with Action Against Hunger, The HALO Trust provided risk education in Helmand province to communities who were also receiving psychosocial and fertility healthcare. Through this partnership, The HALO Trust provided single sessions to some attendees, and for others spread the curriculum across four weekly sessions and then tested knowledge increase after the sessions. Initial findings were that knowledge increase levels were similar across both groups. The HALO Trust planned to conduct knowledge retention tests later in 2020.[96]

Victim Assistance

Victim assistance providers and activities

Type of organization

Name of organization

Type of activity

Governmental

Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs and the Disabled (MoLSAMD)

Technical support, training, and coordination; providing pensions and allowances; organizing of services for survivors with disabilities and families of persons killed

Ministry of Public Health (MoPH)

Emergency and continuing medical care, medication, surgery, awareness-raising, counseling (supported by the World Bank, United Nations and donors), physical rehabilitation, and psychosocial support

Ministry of Education (MoE)

Inclusive education and assistance through education

Technical Vocational Education and Training Authority (TVETA)

Inclusive technical and vocational training

National

Accessibility Organization for Afghan Disabled (AOAD)

Vocational skills, development training, and physical accessibility measures for landmine survivors and their immediate family members

Afghan Amputee Bicyclists for Rehabilitation and Recreation (AABRAR)

Physiotherapy, education, and vocational training; sport and recreation; capacity-building for local civil society organizations and disabled persons’ organizations

Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC)

Awareness-raising and rights advocacy program for disabled persons’ organizations; monitoring

Afghan Landmine Survivors Organization (ALSO)

Advocacy workshops and implementing services through local partners; referral of students to education centers from basic to advanced level; research and promoting access to education

Community Center for Disabled People (CCD)

Social and economic inclusion and advocacy; art training for war survivors; and job placement

Development and Ability Organization (DAO)

Social inclusion, advocacy, rehabilitation, and income-generating projects

Kabul Orthopedic Organization (KOO)

Physical rehabilitation and vocational training

Rehabilitee Organization for Afghan War Victims (ROAWV)

Economic inclusion training and awareness-raising

International

EMERGENCY

Operates surgical centers in Kabul, the Panjshir Valley, and Lashkar-gah, and operates a network of first-aid posts and health centers

Humanity & Inclusion (HI)

Disability advocacy and awareness; capacity-building of disabled persons’ organizations and survivors’ organizations; physical rehabilitation, including prosthetics and rehabilitation training

Swedish Committee for Afghanistan-Rehabilitation of Afghans with Disabilities (SCA-RAD)

Healthcare, community-based rehabilitation, physical rehabilitation, psychosocial support, economic inclusion through revolving loans, inclusive education, advocacy, and capacity-building; home-based therapy for children with disabilities and survivors in mainstream schools; self-help groups for persons with disabilities including mine/ERW survivors

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

Emergency medical care; physical rehabilitation, including physiotherapy, prosthetics, and other mobility devices; economic inclusion and social reintegration, including education, vocational training, micro-finance, and employment for persons with disabilities, including both civilian mine/ERW survivors and military casualties; schools for orthopedic technicians and physiotherapists; sports, and support to the Afghanistan Paralympic Committee

 

Major Developments in 2019

Following the end of the Afghan Civilian Assistance Program (phase three) in March 2018, the Conflict Mitigation Assistance for Civilians (COMAC) program was awarded to Blumont Global Development to provide up to $40 million in United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funding over a five-year period. COMAC was designed to strengthen the capacity of line ministries, particularly the MMD (initially MoLSAMD), to address the grievances of civilian victims of conflict. COMAC provides comprehensive victim assistance to eligible civilians and Afghan families affected by conflict in all 34 provinces through the direct delivery of humanitarian relief and referral services, including urgent medical assistance, physical rehabilitation, psychosocial support, and economic inclusion including livelihoods support, in collaboration with the MMD, the MoPH, and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA).[97] UNICEF collaborated closely with COMAC in 2019, providing immediate assistance to children injured by ERW.[98]

Needs assessment

The Afghanistan National Disability Database (ANDD), initiated in 2017, has faced fundamental challenges to meet the needs of the newly established MMD. It was reported that some progress was made in 2019 to clean the data and adapt the system for the MMD.[99] Based on the MMD database, 350,000 war-related victims were registered, of which some 34,000 are mine/ERW survivors and indirect victims.[100]

A project to undertake nationwide registration of persons with disability and the families of victims through a biometric system was not funded in 2019, although initial registration was reported to have taken place in Kabul and four other provinces.[101]

In 2019, the Asia Foundation carried out the Model Disability Survey of Afghanistan (MDSA), implemented with technical support from the World Health Organization (WHO). The MDSA was the first broad national disability survey in Afghanistan since 2005. It gathered data on both the national prevalence and distribution of disabilities, and the wider context of health determinants and supporting environmental factors among persons with disabilities in Afghanistan.[102]

In 2018, HI conducted an updated situational analysis of the physical rehabilitation sector in Afghanistan using a WHO-standard tool. The main findings of the assessment on disability and physical rehabilitation were highlighted in the National Health Policy 2015–2020. [103]

The COVID-19 pandemic also measurably impacted victim assistance and services for people with disabilities. The Afghanistan Landmine Survivors Organization (ALSO) conducted a study which found that people with disabilities were disproportionately impacted by unemployment, food shortages, psychological problems, domestic violence and lack of access to health services including rehabilitation. Disability rights organizations faced challenges in implementation due to pandemic-related restrictions and reduced budgets, and reported a lack of coordination with government agencies in terms of ensuring the response to COVID-19 took into consideration people with disabilities.[104]

Medical care and rehabilitation

Healthcare is supported through two tiers of health services across the country, the Basic Package of Health Services (BPHS) and the Essential Package of Hospital Services (EPHS). The distance to rehabilitation services from populations in need, together with a lack of funding, often impedes access to services. The MoPH maintains a large-scale contracting arrangement with international and national NGOs to deliver BPHS and EPHS services, with the support of donors and monitors of health system performance. The System Enhancement for Health Action in Transition (SEHAT) project financed the delivery of BPHS and EPHS. Following the completion of the SEHAT project, the Sehatmandi project started on 1 July 2018, and will run for a period of around three years. The Sehatmandi project is supported by the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), managed by the World Bank (on behalf of 34 donors) and the International Development Association (IDA), as was the SEHAT project. The new project is also supported by the Global Financing Facility.[105]

Afghanistan reported that 90% of its population lives more than 100km from rehabilitation centers, while 20 of its 34 provinces have no prostheses provider.[106] Only 21 of its provinces have physical rehabilitation services within the BPHS and EPHS. The majority of services for people with disabilities are provided by international and national NGOs.[107] Physical rehabilitation services were almost entirely operated by international NGOs and the ICRC under the coordination of the government. The government had been preparing to take on responsibility for managing physical rehabilitation services, starting within the local healthcare services and providing for rehabilitation from the development budget. However, authorities have acknowledged it would be unrealistic to consider the government capable of ensuring the required rehabilitation services.[108]

Some 1,000 additional qualified physiotherapists are needed in the health sector for secondary and tertiary level healthcare. Half of all persons delivering physical therapy services in health facilities in Afghanistan do not have diploma-level training. The majority (70%) of professionals providing physiotherapy services are male, resulting in a lack of access for women.[109]

During 2019, a lack of funding continued to affect the provision of services. Only three Physical Rehabilitation Centers, in Kunar, Rarah and Paktya provinces were funded; while out of seven victim assistance projects intended to be implemented in 2019, only four were funded.[110] However, 160,000 people received rehabilitation assistance at one of seven ICRC-run rehabilitation centers, and/or had assistive devices made from an ICRC components factory.[111] The number of patients using HI’s Physical Rehabilitation Center in Kandahar has increased by 18% over the last five years, including a 10% increase in war victims.[112] HI provided services to 9,337 patients in 2019, including 215 survivors of armed conflict and mine/ERW victims. The USAID-funded COMAC program distributed immediate care packages to civilian conflict casualties.

Physical rehabilitation was included in UNOCHA’s Humanitarian Response Plan for Afghanistan for 2018–2021, for the first time.[113]

Socio-economic and psychosocial inclusion

Access to economic opportunities and vocational skills is restricted by various social and cultural barriers to persons with disabilities, especially women. Project areas remain under-served and there is no planning for youth and youth with disabilities to provide skill-learning initiatives and to increase livelihood opportunities.[114]

HI supported vocational training in Kandahar and Kabul, and 70 students (39% female, 61% male) were trained in tailoring, embroidery and mobile repair. During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, HI established a mechanism to coach the beneficiaries of business development and income generation activities to work from home. Youth with disabilities were encouraged to enroll in vocational training.[115]

The HI Victim Assistance/Livelihood Project (April 2019–March 2020) supported skill-building and business support initiatives for people with disabilities. Multiple personalized support sessions were organized with students to understand their needs for adaptation and accessibility.[116]

The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) developed guidelines to improve physical access to all of its infrastructure, buildings and services for persons with disabilities, including landmine survivors.[117]

Gender

Gender was taken into account through the fourth goal of the National Mine Action Strategic Plan. A Gender Associate was recruited in UNMAS/DMAC in March 2017 to coordinate gender issues, including in victim assistance and disability contexts.[118] SCA prioritized women and children as their major target groups, while its disability program, which includes mine survivors, stresses the inclusion of more women and children with disabilities.[119] HI has proposed investment in physical rehabilitation and psychosocial programming to reach women in rural areas.[120]

In June 2019, a meeting was held with DMAC and the Deputy Minister of the MoWA, to discuss the inclusion of disability issues into the policies and strategic documents of the ministry. Victim assistance and disability are included within MoWA’s five-year strategy, and two focal points have been appointed to ensure that disability issues are included in the MoWA’s work. DMAC’s victim assistance department will continue to work with the MoWA to support the inclusion of women with disabilities.[121]



[1] MAPA is a collective term for all the agencies involved in mine action in Afghanistan. See, Afghanistan Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 deadline Extension Request (revised), 31 August 2012, p. 5.

[3] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Fazel Rahman, Project Manager Operations, DMAC, 16 April 2020.

[4] Afghanistan Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2018), Background, p. 1.

[5] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Fazel Rahman, Project Manager Operations, DMAC, 16 April 2020.

[6] World Health Organization (WHO) “Afghanistan: Health Cluster Strategic Response Plan 2017,” 5 March 2017.

[7] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Afghan Landmine Survivors Organization (ALSO), 1 May 2018.

[9] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Fazel Rahman, Project Manager Operations, DMAC, 16 April 2020.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Interview with Mohammad Shafiq Yosufi, Director, DMAC, in Geneva, 16 February 2018.

[13] Email from Mohammad Shafiq Yosufi, Abdul Quodos Ziaee and Mohammad Akbar Qriakhil, DMAC, 29 August 2019.

[14] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Fazel Rahman, Project Manager Operations, DMAC, 16 April 2020.

[15] US Department of State Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA), “To Walk the Earth in Safety, Jan–Dec 2019,” April 2020, p. 49.

[16] National Mine Action Strategic Plan, 1395–1399 (2016–2020), State Ministry for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs, undated but 2016, pp. 2–7.

[17] National Mine Action Strategic Plan, 1395–1399 (2016–2020), State Ministry for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs, undated but 2016, p. 22.

[18] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Fazel Rahman, Project Manager Operations, DMAC, 16 April 2020.

[19] GICHD, “The importance of NMAS,” presentation at the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO) Conference on Humanitarian Mine Action, Innovations and Strategies in HMA, 22 September 2020.

[20] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Fazel Rahman, Project Manager Operations, DMAC, 16 April 2020.

[21] Afghanistan Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2018), Form A, p. 3.

[22] Email from Mohammad Shafiq Yosufi Abdul Qudos Ziaee and Mohammad Akbar Oriakhil, DMAC, 18 April 2018; DMAC, “Policy on Abandoned Improvised Mines Demining in Afghanistan,” May 2018, pp. 2–4; and interview with Patrick Fruchet, Head of Office, UNMAS Afghanistan, in Geneva, 8 June 2018.

[23] Mine Action Review, ‘‘Clearing Cluster Munition Remnants 2019,’’ 1 August 2019, p. 15.

[24] Justyna Pieralik, ‘‘Afghanistan’s Landmine-removal Extension Request,’’ Journal of Conventional Weapons Destruction, Vol. 17, Issue 1, April 2013.

[25] Afghanistan Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), Form J, p. 40.

[26] National Mine Action Strategic Plan, 1395–1399 (2016–2020), State Ministry for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs, undated but 2016, pp. 3–4.

[27] UNMAS, “Annual Report 2019,” 21 April 2020, p. 25.

[28] National Mine Action Strategic Plan, 1395–1399 (2016–2020), State Ministry for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs, undated but 2016, p. 6.

[29] UNMAS, “Annual Report 2019,” 21 April 2020, p. 26.

[30] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Fazel Rahman, Project Manager Operations, DMAC, 16 April 2020.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Afghanistan Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 reports (for calendar years 2017 and 2018), Form H; Afghanistan Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for Calendar year 2019), Form J; statements of Afghanistan, Mine Ban Treaty Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 27 November 2018; Mine Ban Treaty Fourth Review Conference, Oslo, 27 November 2019; responses to Monitor questionnaire by Fazel Rahman, Project Manager Operations, DMAC, 16 April 2020; M. Amin Qanet, Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA), 5 May 2018; and Alberto Cairo, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), 22 April 2018; and Humanitarian Response, “Health Cluster: Afghanistan,” undated.

[34] MMD, “Ministry's History,” undated.

[36] Articles 4,8, 19, and 24 of the law were amended. Afghanistan Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), Form H, p. 22.

[37] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Fazel Rahman, Project Manager Operations, DMAC, 16 April 2020 and by Sabir Shinwari, Senior Programme Manager, HI, 21 May 2020.

[38] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Fazel Rahman, Project Manager Operations, DMAC, 16 April 2020.

[39] Ibid.

[40] Ibid.

[41] Afghanistan Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), Form H, p. 22.

[42] Afghanistan Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), Form C, p. 10; and Response to Monitor questionnaire by Fazel Rahman, Project Manager Operations, DMAC, 16 April 2020. Afghanistan Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), p.17. The Article 7 report states that a commercial company has reported some cluster munition contamination in remote parts of the Panjshir region.

[43] See, for example, reports that armed opposition groups mined the highway linking Kabul and Ghazni during fighting in August 2018. “Intense fighting as Taliban presses to take Afghan city,” Reuters, 12 August 2018.

[44] Email from Mohammad Shafiq Yosufi Abdul Qudos Ziaee and Mohammad Akbar Oriakhil, DMAC, 29 August 2019

[45] Afghanistan Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), Form C, p. 10. In April 2020, DMAC reported that antipersonnel mine contamination is 171km² (CHA 120km² and SHA 51km²) and improvised mine contamination is 37km². Response to Monitor questionnaire by Fazel Rahman, Project Manager Operations, DMAC, 16 April 2020.

[46] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Fazel Rahman, Project Manager Operations, DMAC, 16 April 2020.

[47] Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Mines Action Canada, Ottawa, May 2009), p. 27.

[48] Email from DMAC, 11 April 2018; and statement of Afghanistan, Convention on Cluster Munitions intersessional meetings, session on clearance and risk education, Geneva, 15 April 2013.

[49] Interviews with Mine Action Coordination Centre of Afghanistan (MACCA) implementing partners, Kabul, May 2013.

[50] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Fazel Rahman, Project Manager Operations, DMAC, 16 April 2020.

[51] Afghanistan Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), Form C, p. 7.

[52] Casualty data for 2019 is based on email from Fazel Rahman| Project Manager Operations, DMAC, 16 April 2020; and Monitor analysis of Armed Conflict Location and Event Data project (ACLED) data for calendar year 2019. See, Clionadh Raleigh, Andrew Linke, Håvard Hegre, and Joakim Karlsen, “Introducing ACLED-Armed Conflict Location and Event Data,” Journal of Peace Research, Issue 47(5), 28 September 2010, pp. 651–660.

[53] Interview with Habib Khan Zazai, Head, Victim Assistance Department, UNMAS in support of DMAC, in Amman, Jordan, 12 September 2019.

[54] Casualty data for 2018 is based on emails from Mohammad Ashraf, 25 May 2019; and Habib Khan Zazai, Head, Victim Assistance Department, UNMAS in support of DMAC, 26 May 2019; and Monitor analysis ACLED data for calendar year 2018. See: Clionadh Raleigh, Andrew Linke, Håvard Hegre, and Joakim Karlsen, “Introducing ACLED-Armed Conflict Location and Event Data,” Journal of Peace Research, Issue 47(5), 2010, pp. 651–660. In 2018, the Monitor again began including casualties among NSAG forces emplacing improvised mines. These had previously been excluded due to the likelihood that the emplaced device causing the accidental explosion was a command-denotated IED. However, by 2018, there was less distinction between incidents of NSAG members as casualties of their own minefields or laying the improvised mines, and more indications that accidents involved laying trigger-sensitive improvised mines.

[56] UNAMA, “Annual Report 2014: Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict,” February 2015, p. 48.

[57] UNAMA, “Annual Report 2016: Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict,” 2017, p. 14.

[58] UNAMA, “Midyear Update on The Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict: 1 January to 30 June 2019,” 30 July 2019, p. 6.

[59] UNAMA, “Annual Report 2019: Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict,” 2020, p. 88.

[60] UNAMA, “Annual Report 2019: Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict,” 2020, p. 42.

[61] See, UNAMA “Protection of Civilians Annual Report 2016,” February 2017, pp. 1–2.

[62] HI, Circle of Impact: The Fatal Footprint of Cluster Munitions on People and Communities, (Brussels: HI, May 2007), p. 95. The ICRC recorded 707 casualties occurring during cluster munition use between 1980 and 31 December 2006, to which 47 casualties from 2007 to the end of 2015 recorded by MACCA were added. Due to under-reporting, it is likely that the numbers of casualties during use, as well as those caused by unexploded submunitions, were significantly higher.

[63] Casualty data provided by MACCA, 2 May 2016; and by UNMAS, 5 April 2017.

[64] Afghanistan Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019); figures from ICBL-CMC Landmine Monitor reporting 2015–2019; 2018 figure from Afghanistan Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2018), p. 11; emails from Mohammad Akbar Oriakhil, DMAC, 29 August 2019; and Ahmad Fahim, Data/GIS Associate, DMAC, 27 August 2020 .

[65] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Fazel Rahman, Project Manager Operations, DMAC, 16 April 2020.

[69] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Fazel Rahman, Project Manager Operations, DMAC, 16 April 2020.

[70] Afghanistan Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), p. 1.

[71] Email from Mohammad Shafiq Yosufi Abdul Qudos Ziaee and Mohammad Akbar Oriakhil, DMAC, 29 August 2019.

[72] HALO Trust, “Annual Report and Financial Statements, 2019,” 31 March 2020.

[73] Afghanistan Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), Form J, p. 35.

[74] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Fazel Rahman, Project Manager Operations, DMAC, 16 April 2020.

[75] Email from Ahmad Fahim, Data/GIS Associate, DMAC, 27 August 2020. This figure for clearance is different from the 3.6km² reported in Afghanistan’s Article 7 report for 2019, but it was confirmed as the correct figure by DMAC.

[76] Afghanistan Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), Form J, p. 39.

[78] Mine Action Review, ‘‘Clearing Cluster Munition Remnants 2019,’’ 1 August 2019, p. 15.

[79] AAR-Japan, “Projects and Activities: Afghanistan,” undated.

[80] UNICEF, Risk Education, SMQ data for 2019, provided by Hugues Laurenge, UNICEF, 2 June 2020.

[81] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Angela Gosse, Mohammad Wakil Jamshadi, and Caitlin Longden, UNMAS, 13 May 2020.

[82] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Zareen Khan Mavar, EORE Technical Advisor, HI, May 2020.

[83] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Fazel Rahman, Project Manager Operations, DMAC, 16 April 2020.

[84] Afghanistan Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), Form I, p. 26.

[86] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Philluppus Jakobus Fouche, Operations Manager, FSD Afghanistan, 14 April 2020; FSD, “Annual Report 2019,” 2020, p. 13 and 23.

[87] Afghanistan Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), Form I, p. 26.

[88] Ibid.

[89] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Matthew Walker, Partnerships and Donor Management Officer, HALO Trust, 30 April 2020.

[90] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Angela Gosse, Mohammad Wakil Jamshadi, and Caitlin Longden, UNMAS, 13 May 2020.

[91] Ibid.

[93] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Angela Gosse, Mohammad Wakil Jamshadi, and Caitlin Longden, UNMAS, 13 May 2020; and UNMAS Afghanistan, “Behaviour Change Communication for Explosive Ordnance Risk Education,” October 2019.

[94] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Fazel Rahman, Project Manager Operations, DMAC, 16 April 2020.

[95] UNICEF, Risk Education, SMQ data for 2019, provided by Hugues Laurenge, UNICEF, 2 June 2020.

[96] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Matthew Walker, Partnerships and Donor Management Officer, HALO Trust, 30 April 2020.

[98] UNICEF, Risk Education, SMQ data for 2019, provided by Hugues Laurenge, UNICEF, 2 June 2020.

[99] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Fazel Rahman, Project Manager Operations, DMAC, 16 April 2020; and Afghanistan Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), Form J, p. 42.

[100] Statement of Afghanistan, Mine Ban Treaty Fourth Review Conference, Oslo, 27 November 2019.

[101] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Fazel Rahman, Project Manager Operations, DMAC, 16 April 2020; and Afghanistan Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), Form J, p. 42.

[102] Asia Foundation, “Model Disability Survey Of Afghanistan 2019,” September 2020; and Tabasum Akseer, Asia Foundation, “Disability Survey Is Afghanistan’s First in 15 Years,” 13 May 2020.

[103] HI, “Mapping of physical rehabilitation services in Afghanistan–2018,” undated; and response to Monitor questionnaire by Samiulhaq Sami, HI, 6 May 2018.

[105] World Bank, “Ensuring Accessible Health Care for Rural Afghans,” 9 April 2020.

[106] Afghanistan Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar Year 2019) Form J.

[107] WHO, “WHO Afghanistan Country Office 2019,” December 2018.

[108] ICRC, “Physical Rehabilitation Programme: Annual Report 2014,” 12 June 2020; and response to Monitor questionnaire by Alberto Cairo, ICRC, 29 July 2017.

[109] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Samiulhaq Sami, HI, 6 May 2018

[110] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Fazel Rahman, Project Manager Operations, DMAC, 16 April 2020.

[111] ICRC, “Annual Report 2019,” 29 June 2020, p. 317.

[112] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Sabir Shinwari, Senior Programme Manager, HI, 21 May 2020.

[114] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Sabir Shinwari, Senior Programme Manager, HI, 21 May 2020.

[115] Ibid.

[116] Ibid.

[117] Response to Monitor questionnaire by M. Amin Qanet, SCA, 3 May 2018.

[118] Response to Monitor questionnaire by UNMAS/DMAC, 8 August 2017.

[119] Response to Monitor questionnaire by M. Amin Qanet, SCA, 3 May 2018.

[120] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Samiulhaq Sami, HI, 6 May 2018.

[121] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Fazel Rahman, Project Manager Operations, DMAC, 16 April 2020.


Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 15 November 2021

Policy

Afghanistan acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty on 11 September 2002, becoming a State Party on 1 March 2003. The country has been renamed the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan since the Taliban seized power in August 2021.

The Taliban has pledged not to use landmines on several occasions. In October 1998, its then-supreme leader, Mullah Muhammed Omer, proclaimed a comprehensive ban on antipersonnel mines. He described use of landmines as an “un-Islamic and anti-human act,” which the Taliban “strongly condemns.” The statement explicitly endorsed the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty and declared a national “ban on the production, trade, stockpiling and use of landmines.”[1]

Over the past 20 years, the Monitor and others have reported on the use of mostly improvised antipersonnel mines by the Taliban and non-state armed groups (NSAGs) in Afghanistan. The ICBL has called on the Taliban to adhere to its pledge not to use landmines and has reiterated that call to the new government of Afghanistan.[2]

A national law enacted in September 2018 prohibits the “production, importation, transportation, export, preservation, using, and destruction of anti-personnel mines.”[3]

Afghanistan has submitted its annual Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report covering its implementation activities during 2020.

Afghanistan did not participate in the 1996–1997 Ottawa Process to create the Mine Ban Treaty, in part due to lack of clarity over the status of its representation at the United Nations (UN). Since 2003, Afghanistan has participated in every meeting of the treaty, most recently the Eighteenth Meeting of States Parties, held virtually on 16–20 November 2020, as well as the intersessional meetings in June 2021.[4]

Use

Government forces of the former Islamic Republic of Afghanistan are not known to have used antipersonnel mines since the country became a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty in 2003.

Non-state armed groups

NSAGs in Afghanistan have used antipersonnel mines extensively for decades, including in 2020 and 2021. Victim-activated explosive devices are prohibited under the Mine Ban Treaty regardless of whether they are assembled in a factory or improvised from locally available materials. Landmines are explicitly prohibited if assembled and used in a manner intended to be detonated by the presence, proximity, or contact of a person. Most of the pressure-plate improvised mines found in Afghanistan are detonated by the weight of a human being, making them antipersonnel landmines.[5]

In June 2021, Afghanistan told States Parties that “improvised mines are still used by antigovernment elements as a weapon of choice” and said that almost two-thirds of all civilian casualties over the previous 12 months were caused by mines.[6] In February 2021, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) attributed antipersonnel mines used during 2020 “almost exclusively” to Taliban forces.[7]

The Taliban has been accused by former vice president Amrullah Saleh of using civilians to clear landmines.[8]

In February 2021, UNAMA appealed to the Taliban to “ban the use of pressure-plate IEDs and recalls previous commitments the Taliban made in this respect. These devices, as used in Afghanistan, are victim-operated and inherently indiscriminate, and function as anti-personnel landmines. The use of such weapons violates international human rights law and international humanitarian law.”[9] UNAMA has reported conducting extensive advocacy with regard to NSAGs on civilian casualties caused by pressure-plate improvised mines.[10]

Taliban media outlets claim responsibility for many attacks against military personnel and vehicles using improvised explosive devices (IEDs).[11] However, the Taliban has repeatedly denied using prohibited antipersonnel mines.[12] In September 2019, the Taliban told the Monitor that it uses command-detonated mines and not mines banned under the Mine Ban Treaty.[13] In a 2019 response to UNAMA, the Taliban stated that it uses IEDs only against military targets.[14] UNAMA reported in early 2021 that children continue to be recruited by anti-government groups to transport and emplace explosives.[15]

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack in Baghlan province on 8 June 2021 which killed ten mine action personnel and wounded 16 others.[16] The attack was condemned by the UN Security Council, the president of the Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, the ICBL, and others.[17]

The United States (US) reported in 2014 that its forces had used a single antipersonnel mine in Afghanistan, in 2002.[18]

Production and transfer

Afghanistan is not known to have ever produced or exported antipersonnel mines. Throughout many years of armed conflict, numerous sources transferred landmines to various forces fighting in Afghanistan.

Stockpile destruction and discovered mines

Afghanistan reported completion of its Mine Ban Treaty stockpile destruction obligation in October 2007, almost eight months after its deadline of 1 March 2007.[19] A total of 525,504 stockpiled antipersonnel mines were destroyed between 2003 and 2007.[20]

Since Afghanistan’s stockpile destruction declaration, it has reported the discovery and destruction of a further 85,326 antipersonnel mines, from stocks either recovered during military operations, surrendered to authorities during disarmament programs, or from arms caches found by civilians.[21] Afghanistan reported the discovery and destruction of 251 antipersonnel mines during 2020.[22]

Mines retained for training and development

Afghanistan does not retain any live mines for training in mine detection, clearance, or destruction techniques. It has trained with inert mines which have had their fuzes removed and destroyed, and are no longer capable of being used.[23]



[1] Statement of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan on the Problem of Landmines, 6 October 1998. Republished in full in ICBL, Landmine Monitor Report 1999: Toward a Mine-Free World, (New York: Human Rights Watch, April 1999).

[3] The regulation is contained in an annex to the Law on Firearms, Ammunitions, and Explosive Materials. 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.” Afghanistan 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.” Afghanistan Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2015), Form A. See, Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Database.

[4] Afghanistan has participated in every Mine Ban Treaty meeting since 2003, except the Third Review Conference in Maputo in June 2014, as its delegation was denied a transit visa en-route. Afghanistan’s Ambassador Suraya Dalil was president of the Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties, held in Geneva in November 2018.

[5] An investigation into pressure-plate mine incidents in 2017 by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) determined that roughly three-quarters of pressure-plate improvised mines were antipersonnel mines, and that a quarter were antivehicle mines. Email to the Monitor from Abdul Qudos Ziaee, UNOPS, 13 June 2018. The analysis assumed that incidents involving improvised mines with a pressure-plate that produced more than two casualties likely involved antivehicle improvised mines, while incidents with one or two casualties likely involved antipersonnel improvised mines.

[6] Statement of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Mine Ban Treaty intersessional meetings, Thematic Session: Completion and Sustainable National Capacities, held virtually, 23 June 2021.

[7] UNAMA, “Afghanistan: Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict Annual Report 2020,” February 2021, p. 48. Previously, in 2019, UNAMA attributed 96% of the use of pressure-plate improvised mines to the Taliban, causing 650 civilian casualties (275 killed and 375 injured) in 2019. See, UNAMA, “Afghanistan: Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict: Annual Report 2019,” February 2020, p. 42.

[11] See, Voice of Jihad/Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (no longer available online).

[12] For example, in October 2012, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan website denied the use of victim-activated explosive devices and said that it uses only command-detonated explosive devices: “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.” See, “Reaction of Islamic Emirate regarding accusations of UNAMA about explosive devices,” 22 October 2012.

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

[17] See, HALO Trust, “Messages of Condolence for Afghanistan,” June 2021; UN press release, “Afghanistan: UN condemns ‘horrendous attack’ on demining partner HALO Trust,” 9 June 2021; Statement of Ambassador Robbert Gabriëlse of the Netherlands, President of the Mine Ban Treaty Nineteenth Meeting of States Parties, 22 June 2021; and ICBL-CMC press release, “ICBL-CMC Condemns Attack on HALO Afghanistan Deminers,” 9 June 2021.

[18] The use of a mine in Afghanistan was disclosed during the announcement of a new US landmine policy in June 2014. According to the US Department of State, “since the Ottawa Convention came into force in 1999, we are—or since 1991, excuse me—we are aware of only one confirmed operational employment by U.S. military forces, a single munition in Afghanistan in 2002.” US Department of State, “Daily Press Briefing,” 27 June 2014. US forces in Afghanistan also reportedly used Claymore directional fragmentation mines in 2009 and 2010, which are not prohibited under the Mine Ban Treaty if used in command-detonated mode. See, CJ Chivers, “Turning Tables, U.S. Troops Ambush Taliban with Swift and Lethal Results,” The New York Times, 17 April 2009; and “Taliban displays ‘US weapons,” Al Jazeera, 10 November 2009.

[19] 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 150km 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, ICBL, Landmine Monitor Report 2007: Toward a Mine-Free World (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, October 2007), pp. 89–90; and ICBL, Landmine Monitor Report 2008: Toward a Mine-Free World (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, October 2008), pp. 79–80.

[20] Afghanistan Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2013), Form G. See, Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Database. The number of stockpiled mines Afghanistan had destroyed at the time it declared completion of the program lacked clarity. See, ICBL, Landmine Monitor Report 2009: Toward a Mine-Free World (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, October 2009), pp. 99–100.

[21] The types and number of mines destroyed in each location as well, as the dates of destruction, have been recorded in detail. Afghanistan Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), Form G. See, Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Database.

[22] Afghanistan Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), Form B. See, Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Database. The report states that 251 antipersonnel mines manufactured in China, the former Czechoslovakia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, the former Soviet Union, and the US, were seized or recovered during 2020.

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


Support for Mine Action

Last updated: 24 November 2021

In 2020, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan received nearly US$42.7 million from 15 donors, a decrease of 28% compared to 2019 (almost $16.3 million less).[1]

The United States (US) provided the largest contribution with $20 million to clearance, risk education, and victim assistance activities, representing 47% of the total international mine action assistance to Afghanistan in 2020.

2020 total does not include Denmark support to Danish Refugee Council (DRC) operations in Afghanistan as it was part of a multisectoral humanitarian and resilience assistance programme, for which the specific amount going toward demining was not available, and as such could not be included in the Monitor support database.[2]

The Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan (MAPA) is largely funded through international assistance, although in the past, the government of Afghanistan has reported contributing to some specific projects. For instance, in 2015, the Afghan government contributed $1.5 million for clearance operations in Logar province, while in 2013, it contributed $2.6 million for clearance of the Aynak copper mine.[3] No information on any national contribution was available for 2014 or during 2016–2018 nor 2020. In 2019, Afghanistan approved a budget of AFN20 million ($260,538) for demining activities in Khost province. However, it was reported that the contribution could not be delivered as planned, but was expected to be disbursed in 2020.[4]

International contributions: 2020[5]

Donor

Sector

Amount

(national currency)

Amount

(US$)

US

Clearance, risk education, and victim assistance

US$20,000,000

20,000,000

Germany

Capacity-building, clearance, and victim assistance

€10,750,000

12,265,750

Japan

Clearance and risk education

¥215,048,662

2,014,028

Sweden

Various

SEK15,530,000

1,684,985

European Union

Various

€1,300,000

1,483,300

Norway

Victim assistance

NOK9,150,000

970,482

Finland

Clearance and risk education

€810,000

924,210

Italy

Victim assistance

€750,000

855,750

Netherlands

Clearance and risk education

€698,641

797,149

Canada

Various

C$1,000,000

745,045

Ireland

Clearance

€362,500

413,613

Australia

Clearance

A$400,000

275,960

Denmark

Clearance and risk education

DKK1,000,000

152,835

South Korea

Clearance and risk education

N/R

60,000

Slovenia

Victim assistance

N/R

38,619

Total

 

N/A

42,681,726

Note: N/A=not applicable; N/R=not reported.

Since 2016, Afghanistan has received approximately $273 million in total international assistance for mine action. In 2010–2020, a downward trend in international mine action assistance to Afghanistan had been apparent with a continuous decline in international assistance that dropped from a high of some $102 million in 2010 to a low of $42 million in 2020. However, Afghanistan remained the second largest recipient of mine action over the period.

Summary of contributions: 2016–2020[6]

Year

Amount

(US$)

% change from previous year ($)

2020

42,681,726

-28

2019

58,958,349

-18

2018

71,773,325

+70

2017

42,320,790

-26

2016

57,257,467

+11

Total

272,991,657

N/A

Note: N/A=not applicable.



[1] Australia: Australia Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), Form I; and Australia Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), Form J. Canada: Canada Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), Form J. Denmark: Response to Monitor questionnaire by Kristine Dyregaard Nielsen, Head of Section, Denmark Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defence, 15 October 2021. EU: Email from Carole Ory, Senior Expert, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Export Control, European External Action Service (EEAS), 29 June 2021. Finland: Response to Monitor questionnaire by Ilkka Rentoia, Deputy Director, Unit for Arms Control, Finland Ministry for Foreign Affairs, 26 September 2021; and Finland Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form J, 9 April 2021. Germany: Response to Monitor questionnaire by Sandrina Köbinger, Desk Officer, Conventional Arms Division, Germany Federal Foreign Office (GFFO), 27 May 2021; Germany Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), Form I; and Germany Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), Form J. Ireland: Ireland Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form J, 30 April 2021. Italy: Italy Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form I, 3 May 2021; and Italy Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form J, 3 May 2021. Japan: Email from Ishida Tatsuya, Conventional arms division/ Arms control and disarmament division, Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 31 May 2021. Netherlands: Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form J, 2020; and response to Monitor questionnaire by Lucas Daalhuisen, Policy Officer, Stabilisation and Humanitarian Aid Department, Netherlands Minister of Foreign Affairs, 2 June 2021. Norway: Email from Camilla Dannevig, Senior Adviser, Section for Humanitarian Affairs, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 23 September 2021. Slovenia: ITF Enhancing Human Security, “Annual Report 2020,” 2021, p. 14. South Korea: ITF Enhancing Human Security, “Annual Report 2020,” 2021, p. 14; and UNMAS, "Annual Report 2020," April 2021, pp. 50–51. Sweden: Sweden Convention on Cluster Munition Article 7 Report, Form I, April 2021; and email from Erik Pettersson, Senior Programme Manager, Peace and Human Security Unit, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), 28 September 2021. US: US Department of State Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA), “To Walk the Earth in Safety 2021,” 5 April 2021.

[2] Denmark total support to DRC humanitarian operations in Afghanistan in 2020 totaled DKK7,104,000 ($1,085,740), and included a demining and risk education element. Average exchange rates for 2020: DKK6.543=US$1. US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 4 January 2021. Response to Monitor questionnaire by Kristine Dyregaard Nielsen, Head of Section, Denmark Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defence, 15 October 2021.

[3] Mine Action Coordination Centre of Afghanistan (MACCA), “MAPA Annual Report 1394,” September 2016, pp. 40–41; and MACCA, “Fast Facts: Mine Action Coordination Centre of Afghanistan,” December 2013.

[4] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form J, 2020, p. 35. Average exchange rate for 2019: AFN76.7642=US$1. Oanda.

[5] Average exchange rate for 2020: A$1=US$0.6899; C$1.3422=US$1; DKK6.543 =US$1; €1=US$1.141; ¥106.78=US$1; NOK9.4283=US$1; SEK9.2167=US$1. US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 4 January 2021.

[6] See previous Monitor reports.