One Step Beyond – Mine page Afghanistan
The UN Mine Action Centre estimates that it will take between ten and twenty years to clear the high priority areas in Afghanistan affected by landmines and UXO (unexploded ordnance). The country will have to coexist with the danger for a long time to come. Knowledge about mines and UXO is as important for coping with this ofteninvisible menace, as their identification, removal, and disposal. That's why the UN runs Mine-Awareness programs.
So-called Mine-Awareness teams go into schools and camps for returning refugees, and travel to villages. They also visit nomads – of which there are more than one million in Afghanistan. Nomads are the most heavily affected group: they often take their livestock to unknown pastures, but have hardly any information about whether these areas are mined, or where the mines might be.
We accompanied OMAR on their visit to some nomad tribes east of Kabul. Of all the people there, the children listened most eagerly to the instructions. Illustrations and wooden models were used to show the basic shapes of the different types of explosives. It is crucial that the children learn about the danger – they are often attracted by these colourful, interestingly shaped objects. Apart from the children, two older men attend the session – they have lost limbs in mine accidents.
In Kabul, OMAR has a museum which displays – among other things – originals of mines found up to now in Afghanistan.