Afghanistan: April 16, 2003


 The US State Department has warned American citizens about visiting Afghanistan, especially southern Afghanistan. It is believed that pro-Taliban groups are planning to kidnap foreign visitors and hold them for ransom, or the release of Taliban fighters held by the government.

There are 7,250 deminers (all but 15 of them Afghan) working in the country. In the last 13 years, about a hundred have been killed and over 500 injured. In that time, the clearing operations have reduced the number of civilians killed by mines each year from 300 to 120. There is still about 700 square kilometers of territory with mines, and another 500 square kilometers containing unexploded bombs and shells.



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