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Bamyan’s all-women landmine clearing team eyes international medal

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An all-women landmine clearing team in Bamyan has been nominated for an international medal by the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.

This women-led demining effort is the first of its kind in Afghanistan and all team members had been trained for a year. Inaugurated in 2018 by the United Nations Mine Action Service, the $450,000 pilot program is struggling to clear all landmines from Bamyan province.

A member of Afghanistan’s first all-female demining team, Shakila Alizada, says they risk their own lives to save others. “I have been doing this along with men for almost a year. We have cleared three areas in Bamyan province. In one of those areas, three children had lost their loves after landmine explosions. We have cleared all that area,” she reckoned.

Zahra Rezaee as the team’s mentor says that the 20-member team has two aims; one is to clear landmines and second is to inform people of hazards of landmines. “I am very happy with this demining effort. Personally, I have provided public awareness for 11,000 women and children. Now, I am very delighted that the team is nominated for an international medal. I hope people vote for us and we win the medal,” she said.

Habib Noor, an official of the demining team said the nomination by the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency is because of the good work the team has done.

The governor of Bamyan province, Mohammad Taher Zahir, has said the team’s demining activities is very valuable for maintaining security in the society. “The local government supports the all-women demining team and will continue to help them in their activities,” he said.

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