Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 02 November 2011

Commitment to the Mine Ban Treaty

Mine Ban Treaty status

State Party

National implementation measures 

Has not enacted new implementation measures

Transparency reporting

For calendar year 2009

Key developments

Taliban use of victim-activated IEDs has increased


The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty on 11 September 2002, becoming a State Party on 1 March 2003. It has not adopted national implementation legislation.[1]

Afghanistan has submitted eight Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 reports.[2] As of 30 September 2011, it had not submitted its annual report due 30 April 2011.

Afghanistan participated in the Tenth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in November–December 2010 in Geneva as well as intersessional Standing Committee meetings in June 2011. At both meetings, Afghanistan made statements on victim assistance and mine clearance.

Afghanistan is a signatory to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Afghanistan signed the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) in April 1981, but has never ratified it, and thus is not a party to the CCW or its protocols on mines and explosive remnants of war.

Production, transfer, stockpile destruction, and discoveries

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

Afghanistan reported that it completed its stockpile destruction obligation in October 2007,[3] eight months after its treaty-mandated deadline of 1 March 2007.[4] It is unclear how many stockpiled mines Afghanistan had destroyed at the time it declared completion of the program.  It reported that as of April 2007, it had destroyed 486,226 stockpiled antipersonnel mines,[5] and later reported that in calendar year 2007, it destroyed 81,595 antipersonnel mines.[6] How many of those were found and destroyed after the October 2007 declaration of completion is not known.

In previous Article 7 reports, Afghanistan has indicated that thousands of mines continue to be recovered during operations or turned in during disarmament programs or discovered by civilians. A total of 4,392 antipersonnel mines were discovered and destroyed during calendar year 2009, including 2,006 Iranian-produced YM-1 mines.[7] Afghanistan had reported the discovery and destruction of 62,498 antipersonnel mines during 2008.[8]

Mines retained for training and development

In June 2011, the chief of operations of Mine Action Coordination Center for Afghanistan (MACCA) confirmed to the Monitor that Afghanistan does not retain any live mines for training or other purposes.[9] All mines retained by Afghanistan are fuzeless and are used to train mine detection dogs.[10] Afghanistan reported in its previous Article 7 report that it retained a total of 2,618 antipersonnel mines for training purposes, the same number and types as the previous year.[11] 


Conflict in Afghanistan intensified and spread greatly in 2010 and the first half of 2011, with the highest number of civilian casualties recorded since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001. There have been no reports of antipersonnel mine use by Coalition or Afghan national forces, but an increase in the use of victim-activated improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by the Taliban has been recorded.

Non-state armed groups

There has also been a notable increase in the number of reports of use of antipersonnel mines and victim-activated IEDs in Afghanistan by armed groups opposing the Kabul government and NATO/International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) forces.

In July 2011, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) released a report that found that the majority (approximately two-thirds) of IEDs encountered by ISAF in Afghanistan are pressure plate victim-activated devices.[12] UNAMA is of the view that victim-activated IEDs are de facto mines; that is, they function as antipersonnel mines. The majority of pressure plate IEDs are set to detonate from approximately 10kg of pressure and contain approximately 20kg of explosive, more than twice that of a standard antivehicle mine. As a result of this design and configuration, “each pressure plate IED serves as a massive anti-personnel landmine with the capability of destroying a tank. Civilians who step or drive on these IEDS have no defense against them and little chance of survival.” [13] UNAMA has called on the Taliban to cease using pressure-plate IEDs and to publicly reaffirm its 1998 decree banning mines.[14]

On the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan website, the Taliban denied the allegation and said their explosive devices are command-detonated and do not use pressure plates.[15] The Taliban have continued to claim responsibility for an extensive number of attacks against military personnel and vehicles using command-detonated IEDs.[16]

Use of victim-activated IEDs is prohibited by the Mine Ban Treaty, because they function like antipersonnel mines, but use of command-detonated IEDs is not banned. Previously, the Monitor has reported that the vast majority of IED attacks did not involve victim-activated antipersonnel mines, even though media reports frequently attributed attacks to “landmines.”

According to the UNAMA report, the first six months of 2011 saw armed conflict intensify in the south and southeast and moved to districts in the west and north. IEDs were “the single largest killer of civilians in the first half of 2011, killing 444 civilians and comprising 30 percent of all civilian deaths in Afghanistan.”[17] In April 2010, the ICRC stated that its hospital in Kandahar had recorded an increase of victims from improvised mines in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan and condemned the use of improvised mines in the Marjah area of Helmand.[18]

There continued to be some media reports, but fewer than in previous years, of ISAF and Afghan forces recovering antipersonnel mines. In October 2010, Coalition and Afghan forces recovered antipersonnel mines and antivehicle mines among other weapons.[19] In November 2010, Coalition and Afghan forces recovered 25 antipersonnel mines and other weapons.[20] In late 2010, Coalition forces launched a reward program for information on caches, which has led to the recovery of an unknown number of antipersonnel and antivehicle mines.[21] In March 2011, the Disbandment of Illegal Armed Groups (DIAG) Commission received 20 antipersonnel mines and other weapons collected by anti-terrorism police during operations.[22] In July 2011, a Coalition patrol recovered an arms cache that included 23 antipersonnel mines.[23]


[1] In May 2009, Afghanistan repeated from previous Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 reports that “its constitution adopted in January 2005 requires the country to respect all international treaties it has signed. The Ministry of Defense instructed all military forces to respect the comprehensive ban on antipersonnel mines and the prohibition on use in any situation by militaries or individuals.” Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2008), Form A. 

[2] Previous Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 reports were submitted: in 2010 and 2009, and on 13 May 2008, 30 April 2007, 1 May 2006, 30 April 2005, 30 April 2004, and 1 September 2003.

[3] On 11 October 2007, Afghanistan formally notified the Mine Ban Treaty Implementation Support Unit (ISU) that “Afghanistan has now fully completed the destruction of all its known stockpiles of Anti-Personnel Mines.” Letter from Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spania, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to Kerry Brinkert, Manager, ISU, Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining, 11 October 2007.

[4] 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 Landmine Monitor Report 2007, pp. 89–90; and Landmine Monitor Report 2008, pp. 79–80.

[5] Statement by Khaled Zekriya, Head of Mine Action, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction, Mine Ban Treaty, Geneva, 23 April 2007.

[6] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form G, 13 May 2008.

[7] The type and number of mines destroyed in each location, and the dates of destruction, have been recorded in detail in the Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report (for calendar year 2009), Form G.

[9] Email from MACCA, 4 June 2011.

[10] Interview with MACCA, in Geneva, 24 June 2010.  The former UN Mine Action Center for Afghanistan Program Director, also told the Monitor in June 2008 that all retained mines are fuzeless, and that the fuzes are destroyed prior to use in training activities.

[11] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2009), Form D.

[12] UNAMA meeting with ISAF Counter-IED office, Kabul, 10 July 2011. ISAF completed testing 400 of 1,000 IEDs removed from Afghanistan at the United Kingdom Defence Exploitation Facility to determine the weight that would set off the pressure plate IEDs used in Afghanistan. The majority were set at approximately 10kg, though some tested were set as high as 100kg.

[13] UNAMA, “Afghanistan: Mid Year Report 2011, Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict,” Kabul, July 2011, p. 2.

[14] Ibid, p. 8. See statement of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan on the Problem of Landmines, 6 October 1998, in Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 433–434.

[15] “UNAMA accuses Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate of having  caused casualties to the common people by planting land mines. However, all the country men know that Mujahideen use landmines which are controlled remotely, i.e. they are not detonated by heavy pressure. So Mujahideen’s mines aim only at a specific targets.” Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, “Statement of the Islamic Emirate Regarding the Repeatedly Baseless Accusations of UNAMA,” 19 July 2011,

[16] See Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan website,

[17] UNAMA, “Afghanistan: Mid Year Report 2011, Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict,” Kabul, July 2011, p. 17.

[18] “Afghanistan: homemade bombs and improvised mines kill and maim civilians in south” ICRC, Operational Update No 10/04, 14 April 2010,; and Lisa Schlein, “Red Cross Condemns Use of Improvised Mines in Southern Afghanistan,” Voice of America (Geneva), 6 March 2010,

[19] “Afghans Turn-in Numerous Weapons, Explosives,” American Forces Press Service (Washington), 12 October 2010,

[20] ISAF Joint Command – Afghanistan statement, “Large Weapons Cache Found, Destroyed,” 14 November 2010.

[21] “Bomb squad or fraud squad? Phoney IEDs planted for cash in Afghanistan,” The Telegram, 12 August 2011,

[22] “Arms, Ammunition Hands Over To DIAG Commission,” Bakhtar News Agency, 9 March 2011,

[23] “Afghan-led Force Finds Enemy Mortars in Kandahar,” American Forces Press Service (Washington, DC), 18 July 2011,