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Foreign troops in Afghanistan leave lingering health and environmental challenges

AT News

KABUL – An investigative report has uncovered significant health and environmental concerns stemming from the presence of foreign troops, particularly US military bases, during Afghanistan’s two-decade-long conflict. According to findings published in New Lines magazine, communities residing in close proximity to these former bases have experienced a notable rise in medical issues, including skin, heart, and digestive diseases. Additionally, the report highlights the profound impact of the war on the land itself.

The report states that American forces seemingly disregarded the devastating consequences of utilizing explosives, harmful weaponry, and the dispersion of chemical substances resulting from bombings and waste disposal near military installations in Nangarhar, Kandahar, and Parwan provinces.

Residents of these regions have reported ongoing health problems, including skin conditions, cardiovascular ailments, and digestive disorders, even two years after the withdrawal of foreign troops. Furthermore, agricultural productivity on their lands has significantly decreased compared to the past.

The report reveals that the US military dropped over 85,000 bombs in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2021, many of which contained the explosive known as “RDX.” This substance is known to have adverse effects on the human nervous system and has been classified as carcinogenic by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Military analyst Asadullah Nadim has called for an investigation into these findings and suggested that the Taliban government seek assistance from international institutions if the issue is confirmed, ultimately demanding compensation from the United States.

Notably, in April 2017, the US military deployed the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast, colloquially referred to as the “mother of all bombs” or MOAB, the most powerful conventional bomb ever used in combat.

New Lines magazine estimates that during the presence of more than 100,000 NATO and US forces in Afghanistan, they generated over 400,000 kilograms of waste daily, with much of it being burned without proper pollution control measures.

The Islamic Emirate has acknowledged that the 20-year military presence of the US and its allies in Afghanistan has caused significant problems for the Afghan people and has indicated that they will seek compensation at an appropriate time. Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesperson for the IEA, emphasized the historical hardships endured by the Afghan population during occupations and stressed the importance of addressing these issues in due course.

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