Peacekeeping: Demining Afghanistan


August 26, 2006: In the last five years, Afghanistan has made great strides in getting rid of millions of land mines (most of them Russian and Chinese Cold War vintage stuff). Five years ago, 140 Afghans a month were being killed or wounded by all these mines. Now it is only about 60 a month. In the last 17 years, nearly 400 square miles have been cleared of mines. But another 280 square miles remains. Despite the resurgence of the Taliban, and the growth of drug lord militias, everyone tends to leave the deminers alone. Few, if any mines have been laid in the last five years. Nearly all Afghans have had it with landmines, and just want to see them all gone. Most of the people actually clearing the mines are Afghans, and some have been at it for over a decade. Foreign aid groups and governments provide equipment, training and money for salaries and supplies. The biggest supplier of such aid is the United States.


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