KABUL – Years after being deployed by the United States military in Afghanistan, cluster bombs remain a menacing threat, causing immense devastation to Afghan civilians. Over the course of two decades of war, the United States dropped more than 1,500 of these massively destructive bombs, leaving behind deadly unexploded bomblets scattered throughout the country. Even with a recent regime change, the danger persists.
The repercussions have been severe, with an estimated 195,000 registered individuals suffering from injuries, a majority of them being victims of drone strikes and cluster bomb incidents, as reported by Afghanistan’s Ministry of Martyrs and Disabled Affairs. Tragically, these unexploded ordnances continue to take lives and cause injuries, posing a persistent danger for years or even decades after their initial deployment.
While the Pentagon defends the use of cluster bombs as necessary for targeting specific areas and personnel, Afghani officials present a different narrative, highlighting the devastating impact on civilians.
Adding to the concern, U.S. President Joe Biden has authorized the provision of cluster bombs to Ukraine for its conflict with Russia. Despite receiving these provisions, Ukrainian media indicates that the country has not yet used them.
It is noteworthy that the United States is one of the few developed countries that have not signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions. This international treaty prohibits the use of cluster munitions due to the long-term dangers they pose to civilians, even after a conflict has come to an end.