UN warns Afghan civilians to steer clear of deadly landmines

9 November 2001

As Afghan civilians continue to flee their homes seeking refuge from the bombing in their country, the United Nations today warned that special care must be taken to avoid the deadly landmines that litter the territory.

Speaking from Islamabad, Dan Kelly, Manager of the UN Mine Action Programme for Afghanistan, said that the danger of existing minefields was compounded by the fact that the bombing of military installations had struck some ammunition depots. “When these depots get hit, they spray all kinds of ordnance over a five-kilometre radius,” he said, noting that some of the depots were in urban areas. “What is left on the ground unexploded is very dangerous and should not be touched.”

Mr. Kelly also confirmed that the coalition force was cooperating in the effort to protect civilians by providing some information on strike locations which may contain unexploded ordnance. “This is very useful information and will be put to good use as an effective response upon our return to Afghanistan,” he said.

The UN considers Afghanistan to be one of the most mine- and unexploded ordnance-affected countries in the world, with at least 732 million square metres of the country still mined.

 

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