Latest data from UNMAS, the UN Mine Action Service, shows that 1,415 Afghan civilians were killed or injured by mines and so-called explosive remnants of war (ERW) in 2018.
Children make up eight in 10 of ERW casualties, according to UNMAS, which is attending the 22nd Meeting of Mine Action National Directors and United Nations Advisers (NDM-UN) in Geneva this week.
The UN agency notes that since 1989, more than 18 million ERW items have been cleared, along with more than 730,000 anti-personnel mines including over 750 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and 30,145 anti-tank mines.
“We are still in the prevention business and we aren’t doing all that well,” said Patrick Fruchet, UNMAS Programme Manager, Afghanistan. “In 2012, we were down to about 36 casualties per month in Afghanistan – which is still enormous; those numbers jumped, those numbers jumped year on year. And in 2017, there were more than 150 casualties a month.”
This spike in casualty numbers is linked to “new contamination” by anti-personnel weapons in the country, linked to intensifying conflict between Government forces and Taliban extremists, after 2014.