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Insufficient budget hampers demining program: Barmak

“Landmines kill and wound 2-3 people daily in Afghanistan”

AT-KABUL: Minister for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs, Wais Ahmad Barmak, on Sunday said that inadequate budget is hampering the landmines clearance program in Afghanistan.

He asked the donors to address the issue in the coming Geneva conference.

Speaking at “Mine Action Regional Workshop” organized by the Demining and Related Organization here in Kabul, he said that Afghanistan spent $55-60 million on landmine clearance programs annually, but unfortunately they are short of funds and could not complete the programs.

“We will struggle in the Geneva conference to draw attention of donors and countries helping demining programs for Afghanistan. The conference will be held at the end of November,” he said, adding, “Afghanistan must be free of landmines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in 2023, but if the donors and partner countries did not financially support Afghanistan, we will fail to achieve this goal.”

Chairman MAPA implementing Partners Executive Committee and Director of Afghan Technical Consultants (ATC) Demining Organization, Kefayatullah Eblagh, said that daily 2-3 people are killed and injured due to landmine and IED blasts.

He said that mine blasts casualties were 25 people in 1989 in Afghanistan, but this figure deceased to 2-3 currently.

He said that over 2,000km square (nearly 80 percent) land had been cleared from landmines and IEDs in the past ten years but still 570km square (20 percent) land to be cleared from mines and IEDs.

He highlighted that according to a report around one million people killed, wounded and disabled due to mine and IEDs blast in Afghanistan. At least 189 deminers were killed and 977 others wounded till date, he added.

Head of the Program Department of Mine Action Coordination Centre of Afghanistan, Mohammad Shafiq Yusofi, said that today’s program was aimed to share experiences at regional level.

He said that officials from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran and Tajikistan participated to discuss issues and outgoing ways through sharing experiences.

It is worth to mention that the previous sessions were held in Tajikistan in 2013 and in 2014 in Iran.

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