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De-Mining Success in Afghanistan

The UN Mine Action Program for Afghanistan (MAPA) has announced that it has cleared more than 126 million square meters of land contaminated with mines from January through November 2006, more than 17% of Afghanistan’s minefields.

During its clearance from January to November 2006, the MAPA destroyed 12,877 anti-personnel mines, 476 anti-tank mines and more than 700,000 pieces of unexploded ordinance. That brings the total amount of land cleared by the MAPA up to 1.17 billion square meters of land since it began in 1989.

Almost two million Afghans received mine risk education through MAPA’s briefings, community meetings, mass communications, mobile theatre and peer-education programs during 2006. MAPA’s clearance and mine risk education efforts have resulted in a 55 percent decrease in monthly deaths or injuries from mines in Afghanistan.

Clearing mines is a major asset in Afghanistan’s development efforts, and the country’s most under-reported success story. Mine clearance has enabled crucial reconstruction projects to take place in areas that were previously off-limits. De-mining has enhanced agricultural production and irrigation, cleared pathways for power lines that will connect Afghanistan to energy resources in neighboring countries, and created athletic fields for children who have never been free to wander far from the safety of their homes. Even Kabul International Airport has profited from de-mining programs, which have turned the previously inoperable airport into Afghanistan’s most important transportation hub.

For more informaiton on the United Nations' efforts to eradicate landmines across the world, go to

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