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Afghanistan: ICBL concerned by Taliban mine use allegations

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Source: International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL)

    June 19, 2008

    Major news media reports have repeated the allegation that the Taliban have recently laid mines in Arghandab District of Kandahar Province. The news reports do not specify if these are antipersonnel mines.

    “The reports of antipersonnel mine use by the Taliban received over the past 18 months are very worrying as – if confirmed – they would signal a shift from the Taliban’s publicly declared policy of endorsing the mine ban,” said Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan of the ICBL’s Landmine Monitor. “The ICBL calls upon the Taliban to publicly reconfirm and honour the commitment it made in 1998 to non-use of antipersonnel mines,” he continued.

    The former Taliban-controlled Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) was prohibited by its unrecognized status from signing the Mine Ban Treaty, but indicated its willingness to do so. In 1998 the IEA made a public commitment to a total ban on the production, trade, stockpiling, and use of landmines, and further stated that “the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan would never make use of any type of landmines” and that “those who use landmines in personal, political or any other differences in Afghanistan would be punished in accordance with the Islamic law.”

    However, since 2007, as the level of Taliban military activity increased, new antipersonnel mines use has been alleged.

    In June 2007, three Canadian soldiers were killed in Panjwaii district, KandaharProvince when two antivehicle mines were detonated by an attached antipersonnel mine. The mines were newly laid on a road frequented by the troops between two checkpoints 600 meters apart. In May 2007 five children were killed by a mine the police claimed was freshly laid by the Taliban.

    In July and August 2007, Helmand Provincial officials and residents alleged that Taliban insurgents had laid antipersonnel mines in several districts. Qari Yusuf, an alleged spokesman for the Taliban, reportedly confirmed the planting of new mines against the Afghan army and international forces. Also in July 2007 , a former Hezb-i-Islami commander fighting alongside the Taliban, and 38 of his soldiers, surrendered and turned over unspecified mines and other arms to the Disarmament of Irresponsible Armed Groups (DIAG) programme in KapisaProvince. Coalition forces claim to have apprehended militants possessing an antipersonnel mine in Khost in May 2007.

    The majority of explosive attacks in Afghanistan do not involve victim-activated antipersonnel mines, but rather improvised explosive devices (IEDs) or antivehicle mines which are remotely-detonated in roadside attacks. These attacks are frequently attributed to ‘landmines’ by journalists.

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Written by afghandevnews

June 19, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Posted in Demining

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