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President Karzai Welcomes the International Convention Against Landmines

On November 12, President Karzai welcomed the implementation of the international convention against landmines and unexploded ordnances. A new international law will come into effect in November requiring all countries to destroy landmines and unexploded ordnances. The new law covers the destruction or removal of all explosive remnants of war, including planted mines and cluster bombs scattered in uncleared minefields.

The President called the implementation of the law as crucial to ensuring the security and safety of the people. “The people of Afghanistan have suffered tremendously in the past three decades and landmines have taken the lives of thousands of Afghans,” he said. “The mine clearance teams have been working hard in the past 15 years to ensure the safe return of refugees, farmers and internally displaced persons to their houses. Though the continuation of security problems in some parts of Afghanistan hampers the progress of mine clearance work in the country, but the Government of Afghanistan fully backs the international convention against landmines and unexploded ordnances.”

The President made an appeal to the international community to increase their assistance to the mine clearance effort in Afghanistan and said, “I hope Afghanistan will become a mine-free country in the near future.”

Afghanistan is one of the heaviest mined countries in the world, with over 800 square kilometers of farms, grazing areas, irrigation canals, residential areas, roads and footpaths contaminated with land mines and other buried explosives. Mines are a major obstacle to reconstruction, and the Government of Afghanistan has made clearing the country of mines a major national priority. Some 8,000 de-miners are currently involved in Afghanistan’s mine-clearing program.

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