Afghanistan’s Landmines Problem: The Worst is Yet to Come

by Eli Mshomi

Eight months down the line of American withdrawal from Afghanistan, the country’s economic and social condition is worse than ever. The post-America withdrawal is getting messier every day, with the threat of civil war remaining high amid the ignorance of the world toward human rights in the war-torn country.

Afghanistan’s landmines: Ticking time Bombs are pushing the country into chaos

Most of the social service infrastructure, including that of education and health, has collapsed in Afghanistan, and a majority of people are living in precarious conditions.

Over 23 million Afghans are facing acute hunger at a time when the world is diverting all of its attention toward human rights in Ukraine.

The doldrums which Afghanistan is facing is the consequence of international sanctions, which were introduced after the fall of Kabul to the Taliban.

Although sanctions can be used as a political tool, they should not put civilians at risk.

Some of the threats posed toward Afghanistan are evident; however, many are just being hidden under the soil, countering which can be a challenge in itself.

Afghanistan has been at war since the Russian invasion of 1979 in one form or another. This decades-long war has saturated the country with hundreds of thousands of land mines and other remnants of the war. 

Due to this misery, four children lost their lives a few weeks ago in the city of Herat when a landmine exploded. Similarly, just a couple of months ago, nine children died in yet another landmine episode in the province of Nangarhar.

Apart from that, multiple other such incidents have also been reported, which depicts a dangerous pattern.

In the last 30 years of conflict in Afghanistan, over 41,000 civilians have been killed by unexploded ordnance. Last year 79 percent of victims were children because they were more likely to wander in streets where these bombs were placed.

 

Demining Operations Must Start in Afghanistan As Soon as Possible

Thus Afghanistan is asking miserably for a demining operation that can be done with the help of international organizations.

If this does not happen, Afghanistan will be on the brink of an uncontrollable crisis that has the potential to choke the whole country. Without these operations, Afghans will continue to die even if they are given social protections of education and food.

However, these demining operations have some prerequisites as international demining tools cannot be brought to the country as long as Afghanistan is under sanctions. And the worst would come when these sanctions would eliminate the local demining industry of Afghanistan.

Such a collapse will be a significant setback to the locals as it would neutralize even the slow ongoing efforts.

Ironically this collapse is happening in the domain where the scope of the work between the world and the Afghan stakeholders is more than ever.

Gradual peace building efforts are required in this regard to make Afghanistan a peaceful country.

 

Final Thoughts

There have been reports that the Afghan Taliban are going to take decisive action against ISIS before the group gets too big to control. Amid all of these crises, the number of landmines in the country can increase significantly, considering that ISIS would act in its defense and wage war for its survival.

Thus peace building efforts in the country can be started from this domain. Firstly the west should lift some sanctions on Afghanistan to let the global demining machinery enter the country and see the response of the Taliban.

Once these efforts result in success, further avenues of peace can be explored afterward, which include providing humanitarian relief to the people of Afghanistan and pulling them out of hunger.

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