More or less, in order of activity and discovery, you are welcome to share in the wealth of information and research I've gathered from the amazing resources online and in books.
August 20, 2011
Had an amazing first recording session with Louis today. It was kind of a first for all involved and I am extremely thankful to Louis and his family for their interest and support. I've worked with kids and recording before, but never something pre-scripted. Louis is a shy guy, but he approached the project and our reading and recording together with incredible clarity and commitment. I was incredibly impressed. We watched the video clips together with his family and sort of got right down to it, taking turns reading the translated dialogue from the documentary.
As soon as Louis, started reading, the shyness seemed to just fall right off of him. He expressed the dialogue with a very tender concern for the words and the events they describe in away I had not expected. It was really very moving. At one point, I had asked Louis if I could turn on the video recorder (which he declined) because the I found the physicality of his concentration and empathy really stunning. He did indulge me a few photos
louis choy, age 9
Following Louis' performance, I feel even more motivated to include more boys in the project. Knowing that boys Louis' age are such frequent targets for war propaganda forms of early military recruiting, it is wonderfully refreshing to have witnessed what Louis did today.
Trying to wrap my head around the financial cost of the War in Afghanistan...
According to the National Priorities Project, as of today, the total cost to the United States of the War in Afghanistan is quickly approaching four hundred thirty one billion dollars--that's $431,000,000,000. How much is that? Over 60 times the the size of City of San Francisco's current annual budget (over $6 billion)... Or according to this, $431 billion could feed and educate the world's poor for over four years. While the infographic below does not include a field for the War in Afghanistan, $431 billion is approximately the same size as the entire US Defence Budget. (The green block in the upper left corner of the image.)
Afghanistan has suffered greatly from war since 1978, and all sides to the various armed conflicts have used antipersonnel mines, particularly Soviet forces and the Afghan government from 1979 to 1992. Landmines reportedly continue to be laid today in fighting between the Taliban, which controls all but parts of central and northeast Afghanistan, and a loose coalition of opposition forces.
Landmines have been planted indiscriminately over most of the country. Agricultural farms, grazing areas, irrigation canals, residential areas, roads and footpaths, both in urban and rural areas, are contaminated. Mines are a major obstacle to repatriation, relief, rehabilitation and development activities.
Afghanistan is one of the heaviest mined countries in the world. In spite of eight years of intensive mine clearance, only 146 square kilometers of mined area have been cleared. An area of 713 square kilometers remains to be cleared. Landmines kill or maim an estimated ten to twelve people each day in Afghanistan. It is believed that almost 50 percent of landmine victims die due to lack of medical facilities.
The vast majority of mines now in Afghanistan were laid by the Soviet Union in its war with the mujahideen from 1979-1992. Many of the mines were remotely delivered, by helicopter and airplane. Soviet and Afghan government troops placed antipersonnel mines around their security posts, military bases and strategic points for protection; in the outskirts of cities to stop the advancement of mujahideen forces; as well as in and around villages to depopulate them to reduce local support for the mujahideen. The mujahideen planted mines (mainly antitank) in the main roads and supply routes of Soviet and government troops to reduce their mobility and cut short their supplies. Most of these mines were laid in and around the provinces bordering Iran and Pakistan, and alongside the Salang highway connecting Kabul with the former Soviet Union.
Various mujahideen factions have been fighting since 1992, and all sides have used antipersonnel mines. In particular, large numbers of mines were planted in different parts of Kabul City and its outskirts during factional war after the fall of communist regime in 1992, and when the Taliban ousted the Rabbani government from Kabul in September 1996. There have been press reports of new use of mines by both sides in late 1998 and early 1999. In a report published shortly after the Taliban’s mine ban announcement, The Frontier Post stated, “Since their autumn offensive on October 10, 1998, the Taliban militia has since heavily mined the 10-kilometer strip between the districts of Nijrab and Tagab in Kapisa province...and one Western analyst estimated that any attempt to cross the zone could result in 30 percent to 50 percent casualties.” The Rabbani government has also accused the Taliban of new use of antipersonnel mines.
A military official from the ousted government has admitted that it is still using mines, justifying it as a legitimate and useful weapon. He said that government forces had placed thousands of antipersonnel mines in the Salang region in 1998, and the mines had played a key role in defeating the Taliban offensive.
It is not possible at this time to determine the exact number of landmine victims in Afghanistan. It has been estimated that there are more than 400,000 landmine disabled people in Afghanistan. The SEIS report maintains that a better estimate would be 90,000-104,400 mine victims, based on an average rate of 14-16 victims per day for the 18 years since major mining started. The 1993 National Survey of Mines Situation report by MCPA estimated mine casualties at 20-24 per day. According to the SEIS report, effective mine action programs had reduced the toll by fifty percent, to 10-12 people per day as of June 1998.
SEIS indicates that out of 2,647 victims interviewed, 36% were children below 18 years of age. About 52% of them were 18-40 years old and 12% were above age 40. The same survey estimated that 96% of the victims were male and 4% were female. The types of casualties were as follows: Death (29%); Light injuries (49%); Severe injuries with no total loss of body part (12%); Blindness (6.5%); Single amputation of limb (3.5%); Double amputation of limbs (0.1%).
Key developments since March 1999: Landmine casualties continued to decline. An estimated five to ten people were injured or killed by mines every day in 1999, compared to an estimated ten to twelve people in 1998 and an estimated twenty to twenty-four people in 1993. In 1999, 110 square kilometers of land were cleared of mines and UXO, which constitutes 24% of the total of 465 square kilometers cleared since 1990. In 1999, 21,871 antipersonnel mines, 1,114 antitank mines, and 254,967 UXO were destroyed. Donors contributed US$22 million to mine action in 1999. A total of 979,640 people received mine awareness education in 1999, and about 6 million since 1990. The opposition Northern Alliance continued to use antipersonnel mines.
The number of landmine casualties in Afghanistan continues to decline. It is estimated that in 1999, five to ten people were injured or killed by mines every day. In 1998, there were an estimated ten to twelve casualties each day; in 1993 an estimated twenty to twenty-four casualties each day.
Data on mine casualties is not systematic but joint plans are underway for comprehensive collection by the World Health Organization, ICRC, and MAPA. Some problems with data collection include the ongoing fighting and the isolated and remote areas where some incidents occur. Almost 50% of landmine victims are still believed to die due to lack of medical facilities at an early stage of the injury.
MAPA recorded 1,771 landmine casualties (including injuries and deaths) in the thirteen months from January 1999 through January 2000. The Afghan Campaign to Ban Landmines conducted a sixteen-month survey of landmine victims from January 1999 through April 2000. It recorded 2,004 mine casualties (1,831 wounded and 173 deaths). Thus, similar results were found: MAPA data gives an average of 136 mine casualties per month , while the ACBL survey gives an average of 125 mine casualties per month, both in the 4 to 5 per day range. However, these figures would not represent total casualties in the nation, since some go unreported.
The ACBL survey was an intentionally simple sampling survey with two types of questionnaires. It was sent to six provinces (Badakhshan, Balkh, Heart, Kabul, Kandahar, Kundaz). Of the 173 deaths recorded: 110 were males aged between 15-60 years, 38 were males under 15 years, 22 were females aged between 15-60 years and 3 were females under 15 years. Of the 1,831 wounded: 1,349 were males aged between 15-60 years, 295 were males under 15 years, 105 were females under 15 years, 82 were females aged between 15-60 years. The survey showed that 694 people lost one leg, 85 lost both legs, 187 lost one hand, 76 lost both hands, and 87 were blinded.
Since 1991, more than 400,000 people have been killed or maimed by landmines in Afghanistan. According to the Comprehensive Disabled Afghans' Programme (CDAP), as many as 800,000 people, or 4% of Afghanistan's population, are disabled, including some 210,000 landmine-disabled.
In December 1999, MCPA estimated that 12% of mine victims are above the age of 40 years, 50% are between the ages of 18 and 40 years and 36% are children under age of 18 years. The same survey estimated that 96% of casualties were male and 4% female.
In the month of December 1999, four deminers died and twenty-one were injured due to mines. In January 2000, there was one recorded death of a deminer due to mines. According to a news account, since 1990, 30 deminers have been killed and 534 have been injured.
Information on landmine casualties in Afghanistan is very limited and to a large extent deficient as most data collection on landmine casualties is not systematic or well coordinated. Studies have been undertaken by various agencies including ICRC, MAPA, Save the Children–US and local NGOs. The degree to which data collected is representative of the whole country is unknown. In addition, the data collection “is not based on any well-conceived sampling technique, and double counting may occur among the agencies involved.” Part of the problem with systematic and reliable data collection is also the ongoing conflict and casualties in isolated and remote areas that go unreported. Almost 50 percent of mine victims are still believed to die before reaching a medical facility.
In order to streamline landmine casualty data collection, a joint effort is underway for comprehensive data collection by WHO, ICRC and MAPA. The ICRC indicates that it has improved the data collection system and cooperation with 280 hospitals/clinics supported by ARCS, Aide Medical International (AMI), HALO Trust, Health Net, Ibn Sina, Norwegian Afghanistan Committee (NAC) and Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA). The ICRC has improved its mine victim data collection program by training more staff as well as by modifying the existing database. In the meantime, MAPA is in the process of establishing the Afghan Mine Victim Information System (AMVIS) involving some of the MAPA’s mine awareness NGOs, as well as other aid organizations like ICRC, HI and community mechanisms.
In 2000, the ICRC recorded 1,114 mine and UXO casualties throughout Afghanistan, which is close to the 1,003 casualties recorded by MAPA in the same period. There has been a significant decline in the number of casualties reported for 2000 compared to 1999. According to data collected by MAPA and the Afghan Campaign, there were on average about 130 reported mine casualties per month in 1999. The data collected by MAPA and the ICRC for 2000 would indicate an average of about 88 reported mine casualties per month.
These reported totals would not, however, reflect the total number of new mine casualties, since many go unreported. MAPA estimates that there were between 150 and 300 landmine casualties per month in 2000.
An analysis of the ICRC data for 2000 revealed that 92 percent of the casualties were male, and 49 percent of the casualties were under 18 years old. Landmines were the cause of 46 percent of the casualties, while UXO accounted for 49 percent and 5 percent by unknown explosive devices. Analysis of MAPA’s data shows that of the 1,003 cases, 401 were male, 31 were female and 571 were children under 18 years of age, which means that more than half of the mine and UXO casualties in 2000 involved children. The analysis of MAPA’s mine and UXO data by type of explosive devices is very similar to that of ICRC.
The number of demining accidents to MAPA’s deminers and surveyors declined in 2000, when compared to 1999. In the year 2000, four deminers died and ten were injured, while in 1999 four deminers died and 21 were injured. MAPA’s record of demining casualty incidents indicates that from 1990 to February 2001, 34 deminers and surveyors were killed and 544 injured during mine clearance operations.
Key developments since May 2001: Afghanistan has experienced dramatic political, military, and humanitarian changes. The cabinet approved Afghanistan’s accession to the Mine Ban Treaty on 29 July 2002 and the following day the Minister of Foreign Affairs signed the instrument of accession on behalf of the Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan.
Mine action operations were virtually brought to a halt following 11 September 2001. The mine action infrastructure suffered greatly during the subsequent military conflict, as some warring factions looted offices, seized vehicles and equipment, and assaulted local staff. Four deminers and two mine detection dogs were killed in errant U.S. air strikes. Military operations created additional threats to the population, especially unexploded U.S. cluster bomblets and ammunition scattered from storage depots hit by air strikes, as well as newly laid mines and booby-traps by Northern Alliance, Taliban, and Al-Qaeda fighters.
A funding shortfall for the mine action program in Afghanistan prior to 11 September 2001 had threatened to again curtail mine action operations. But since October 2001, about $64 million has been pledged to mine action in Afghanistan. By March 2002, mine clearance, mine survey, and mine risk education operations had returned to earlier levels, and have since expanded beyond 2001 levels.
In 2001, mine action NGOs surveyed approximately 14.7 million square meters of mined areas and 80.8 million square meters of former battlefield area, and cleared nearly 15.6 million square meters of mined area and 81.2 million square meters of former battlefields. Nearly 730,000 civilians received mine risk education. A total of 16,147 antipersonnel mines, 1,154 antivehicle mines, and 328,398 UXO were destroyed. In all of these activities, 95 to 99 percent of the actions were completed prior to 11 September 2001.
The ICRC recorded 1,368 new landmine and UXO casualties in Afghanistan in 2001, but that number is not comprehensive.
Mine action activity in Afghanistan was suspended after it became clear that a military response in Afghanistan would follow the 11 September 2001 attacks on the United States. International and local NGO staff was evacuated, although some local staff voluntarily remained behind to handle emergencies. The training of deminers was suspended, due to fears that their training camps would be mistaken as terrorist camps. The cessation of mine action came as many civilians fled cities for rural areas, crossing mined areas in the process, due to the threat and the eventual reality air strikes. Both the Program Manager of the UN Mine Action Program for Afghanistan (MAPA) and the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) mine risk education unit considered population movements as increasing the risk of casualties from mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO).
As international and local staff departed, the Taliban and other warring factions raided a number of UN and mine action NGO offices. They seized buildings, vehicles, and equipment, and assaulted local staff. The Kandahar offices of MAPA and several other local mine action organizations were repeatedly attacked and occupied by Taliban forces between the end of September and the middle of October. Mine action NGOs were also assaulted in Kabul and Jalalabad during the same period. The HALO Trust (HALO) office in Puli-Khumri in Baglan province was occupied by elements of the Taliban on 28 September 2001. By 20 October 2001, MAPA estimated it had lost 80 vehicles to the Taliban, as well as millions of dollars in equipment.
Beginning on 7 October 2001, mine action personnel and facilities were also affected by coalition air strikes. On 9 October 2001, bombs struck the Afghan Technical Consultants (ATC) office in Kabul. Four local staff members were killed and four more injured. The building was destroyed, along with two vehicles and two electrical generators. On 25 October 2001, a bomb hit the mine detection dog training center near Kabul. Two dogs were killed, two vehicles destroyed, and a number of buildings damaged. The Demining Agency for Afghanistan (DAFA) headquarters site was also hit by air strikes, destroying many of their vehicles, mechanical equipment, and other stores.
Weapons used in the air strikes but not previously encountered in Afghanistan posed new dangers, both to civilians and mine action personnel. One particularly deadly unexploded munition was the BLU-97 bomblet, which was dispensed from the U.S. CBU-87 and CBU-103 cluster bombs. Afghan deminers had no operational experience or training in clearing these devices. Furthermore, MAPA reported an increased UXO threat due to bombing of ammunition storage locations, which spread UXO over a large radius sometimes reaching five kilometers.
On 24 October 2001, MAPA asked the United States to provide information on locations of munitions deployed and at the end of October moved 4,000 deminers out of the country for training on cluster bomb disposal. Key training staff also visited the Kosovo Mine Action Coordination Center to gather lessons learned and to develop and appropriate training plan. On 3 November 2001, MAPA announced plans to hold training sessions in Quetta, Pakistan in mid-November for 1,000 staff and mine clearance trainers, and 3,000 staff in Peshawar, Pakistan. On 28 November 2001, the U.S. State Department announced it would spend an additional $7 million to help demine Afghanistan, including funds to train Afghan deminers how to clear cluster bombs. According to the Program Manager of the UN Mine Action Center for Afghanistan (MACA), the U.S. was cooperative in providing information about coalition cluster bomb strikes, providing map coordinates of cluster bomb strikes to the UN, the Danish Demining Group (DDG), and HALO. Specialists from MACA were also deployed on 7 December 2001 in Herat to help train local mine action staff to deal with the new ordnance dropped by coalition strikes. In co-ordination with the MAPA, DDG established new drills, techniques, and procedures to enable the teams to deal with the unknown ordnance in Afghanistan. At the beginning of December 2001 a joint Afghan Technical Consultants (ATC) and DDG course about new munitions used by the coalition forces was conducted for field staff.
Three days after the Taliban left Kabul, HALO had survey teams on the ground conducting an urgent assessment of the mine and UXO threat along former Northern Alliance/ Taliban fronts. HALO began survey work in the north a week later. At the end of November 2001, some mine clearance teams resumed work. MAPA activated mine clearance and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams in Kabul. HALO resumed work around Bagram, clearing mines and UXO in preparation for area residents to return home to the Shomali plain area. DDG EOD teams were on call for emergency clearance from 20 November 2001. DDG teams assisted in a number of EOD tasks in and around Kabul, clearing unexploded Coalition ordnance at Wazir Akber Khan and Maidan Shahr main road.
Additional clearance teams began to clear 500-2,000 pound unexploded aircraft bombs in and around Kabul, including three at the airport. DDG resumed operations around Kabul and was given the co-ordination responsibility of the day-to-day operations of mine action organizations working at Kabul International Airport. DDG combined its manual and EOD capacity with mine clearance flails from the Danish and British peacekeeping forces supporting the clearance of a safety belt for the runway at the Kabul airport.
In addition, local mine action staff cleared cluster bomblets from 54 homes in the village of Qala Shater, near Herat, by 28 November 2001. At the time, according to HALO, unexploded cluster bomblets and other coalition munitions were the most significant danger facing Afghan civilians trying to return home. In the Shomali Plain area, HALO had 500 deminers working by 10 December 2001, and eight days later, 12 villages in the area were declared to be mine-free.
By the middle of December 2001, 920 deminers from various agencies were engaged in survey, mine risk education, and mine clearance operations in and around Kabul and another 120 were doing similar activity in the northern part of the country. Another 200 personnel were scheduled to arrive in the region by the beginning of January. The security situation in the southern and eastern regions did not permit mine action to resume, but 20 senior deminers were carrying out assessments in and around Jalalabad and Kandahar and 900 deminers were prepared to go to work in each region.
By the end of December, MAPA and its local implementing partners had almost finished clearing UXO from Kabul, had surveyed and cleared 24 kilometers of the road to Bagram, and almost finished clearing cluster bomblets from the old road north of Kabul. OMAR had also resumed operations and by the end of January had destroyed 290 cluster bomblets, mines, and UXO. A section of a manual clearance team and 2 EOD teams from DDG made a general assessment of the UXO problems in Jalalabad in order to respond to the emergency high priority tasks, which endanger the lives of many civilians. Farm Hadda, a cluster strike area, where people from the nearby IDP camp collect wood on a daily basis, was cleared by DDG.
Troops from coalition forces also conducted some “area clearance” activities and some UXO clearance in locations in proximity to their operations. U.S. EOD units in and around Bagram began some limited mine clearance. By 5 December 2001, they had removed over 200 unexploded bombs from Bagram air base. On 14 December 2001, American troops began clearing mines and UXO at the Kandahar airport. Coalition forces also provided medical assistance including casualty evacuation for some injured deminers.
The International Security Assistance Force began some limited clearance of mines and UXO in their immediate area of operations. By the beginning of January, British teams were at work demining five sites in the Kabul area, including the airport, where they were assisting DDG with Aardvark mechanical demining machines. Two Danish Hydrema mine clearance flails also began work at the Kabul airport. At the same time, French and Jordanian troops were clearing areas around Mazar-i-Sharif, and Norwegian troops began clearing the Kandahar airport. At the beginning of February, Russia announced plans it was considering to build a center for mine clearing in Kabul. French soldiers reportedly completed the destruction of 70,000 antipersonnel mines stockpiled at Kabul airport.
The sudden focus of international attention on Afghanistan prompted many governments to offer their support, including specifically to demining programs. At the international donors conference in Tokyo on 21-22 January 2002, officials from 24 countries and international organizations pledged $27 million for mine action in Afghanistan. A total of about $64 million has been pledged for mine action since September 2001. Prior to September 2001, the mine clearance program in Afghanistan was experiencing a funding shortage that threatened to curtail demining operations again, as was experienced in 2000, and forced staff to take a 1/3 pay cut to enable continued operations.
The collection of comprehensive landmine casualty data in Afghanistan remains problematic, due in part to transportation constraints and the time needed to centralize all the information. Nevertheless, data is available on reported landmine casualties, giving an indication of the extent of the problem. However, it is believed that approximately 50 percent of mine victims die before reaching a medical facility so are unlikely to be reported.
As of February 2002, the ICRC had identified 1,218 new landmine/UXO casualties throughout Afghanistan in 2001; this was later updated to 1,348 new casualties as additional information became available. The ICRC data does not include casualties who died before reaching medical assistance; consequently, only 5.1 percent of the recorded casualties were deaths, or 62 people, which was a similar fatality rate to that recorded by the ICRC in 2000.
Of the initial 1,218 casualties recorded, 638 (52.3 percent) were children under the age of 18. Men and boys accounted for 1,115 (91.5 percent) of the total casualties, while 6 percent were girls under 18 years of age, and only 2.4 percent were women. In Afghan society, the active labor force is predominantly male, and women are not very involved in outdoor activities. A total of 65.5 percent of the people injured were tending animals, farming, traveling, collecting wood/water/firewood, and other productive activities at the time of the incident.
Of the 1,218 casualties, the type of device causing the incident was identified for 1,110: landmines 472 casualties, UXO 476 casualties; antivehicle mines 35 casualties; booby-traps 14 casualties; fuses 50 casualties; and cluster munitions 63 casualties. Of the 63 cluster munition casualties, 48 occurred between October and December 2001.
In 2000, the ICRC recorded 1,114 mine and UXO casualties throughout Afghanistan, while MAPA recorded 1,003 casualties.
In the period January to June 2002, the ICRC has collected data on 658 new landmine/UXO casualties in Afghanistan, of which 91.9% are civilians. Of the total casualties reported, 5.9 percent (about 39) were killed, and almost half of the reported casualties, 323, were children. Antipersonnel landmines were responsible for 31.8 percent of the casualties.
As of June 2002, the ICRC database contained information on 5,168 mine/UXO casualties between March 1998 and June 2002, plus more than 1,500 casualties recorded of people injured between 1980 and 1998. Data collection in an on-going process and statistics are continually updated as casualties, both new and from previous periods, are identified.
MAPA receives data on new casualties from the ICRC, Handicap International Belgium, and Save the Children Fund-U.S. In 2001, 928 mine/UXO casualties were recorded in the MAPA database: 64 people were killed, 300 required an amputation, and 564 received other injuries. Of the 928 casualties, 848 were male and 80 female. Casualty data was collected in the provinces of Kabul, Parwan, Kapisa, Wardak, Logar, Ghazni, Nangarhar, Takhar, and Baghlan. Data gathering activities were restricted after the events of 11 September 2001. MAPA receives 80 to 90 percent of its data from the ICRC. In addition, for the period January to 11 September 2001, Handicap International Belgium collected data on 161 new mine/UXO casualties, which were transmitted to MAPA. The discrepancy in casualties recorded in 2001 may be caused by a time delay in recording available data.
Initially, the ICRC was only collecting casualty data from 36 ICRC supported health facilities in the Kabul region. However, in order to better understand the mine problem, data collection was expanded to over 300 health facilities with the support of several organizations, including the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), Afghan Red Crescent Society, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Aide Medicale International, Healthnet, Ibni Sina, Mercy Committee International, Afghan Health and Development Services, Norwegian Afghanistan Committee, and Swedish Committee for Afghanistan.
Since January 2002, the ICRC has initiated community-based data gathering in all mine-affected areas of Afghanistan, except the Kandahar region where Handicap International Belgium has been involved in community-based data collection since 1998. Using a 10-person team the ICRC Mine Data Collection Program includes: interviewing mine/UXO casualties in hospitals and clinics; providing training on mine victim data collection; managing the database; producing statistics and analytical reports; preparing/collection of reports about suspected minefields; and cooperation and coordination with other mine action organizations.
In 2001, as of August, six deminers/surveyors had been injured during demining operations. MAPA’s record of demining accidents indicates that from 1990 to August 2001, 59 deminers/surveyors were killed and 552 injured during mine clearance operations. In December 2001, one deminer working with HALO was killed and three injured in an accident while clearing a Taliban ammunition dump hit by a coalition air strike.
In 2002, foreign nationals in Afghanistan have been killed and injured while engaged in mine or UXO clearance and disposal. In March, three Danish and two German peacekeeping soldiers were killed and another eight injured while destroying missiles at a munitions dump in Kabul. In April, four U.S. EOD soldiers were killed and one injured in an explosion that may have been caused by a booby-trap. In an early accident in February, the commander of the unit was injured after stepping on a fuze. And in May 2002, a Bosnian demining specialist lost a foot after stepping an antipersonnel mine.
Since the U.S.-led ground war in Afghanistan, several soldiers have been killed or injured in landmine incidents. In December 2001, four U.S. soldiers and one British soldier were injured; two of the victims had a foot amputated. Between January and March 2002, one Australian soldier was killed and another injured, while one U.S. soldier was killed and three injured, in landmine incidents. There are also reports of Afghan soldiers fighting with coalition forces falling victim to landmines. In March 2002, two Afghan soldiers were killed and another two injured in a mine blast, and in April another Afghan soldier was killed when his vehicle hit a mine near Kandahar.
Key developments since May 2002: Afghanistan acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty on 11 September 2002. Since the war and dramatic political and military changes in late 2001 and early 2002, mine action activities have expanded greatly. Mine action funding for Afghanistan for 2002 totaled approximately US$64 million, more than four times the 2001 total. Mine action agencies surveyed approximately 25.4 square kilometers of mined land and 92.6 square kilometers of former battlefield area in 2002. They cleared 22.5 square kilometers of mined land and 88.6 square kilometers of battlefield areas, destroying 36,761 antipersonnel mines, 2,769 antivehicle mines, and 873,234 items of UXO. The UN temporarily halted demining operations in eastern and southern provinces due to a series of attacks on demining staff and other humanitarian aid workers that began in April 2003. In 2002, more than 3.4 million civilians, including returning refugees and displaced persons, received mine risk education. The ICRC recorded 1,286 new landmine/UXO casualties in 2002, although it is believed that many casualties are not reported.
In 2002, the ICRC recorded 1,286 new casualties from landmines, UXO and cluster munitions, of which 154 people were killed and 1,132 injured. The collection of comprehensive landmine casualty data in Afghanistan remains problematic, due in part to communication constraints and the time needed to centralize all the information. The ICRC is the principal source of mine casualty data, providing the UN Mine Action Program with ninety percent of its information on new casualties. ICRC data is collected through a network of 400 health care facilities, ninety more than in 2001, and direct links with mine-affected communities. It is believed that many mine casualties die before reaching medical assistance, and are therefore not recorded in the statistics. UN MACA estimates that there continues to be around 150 new mine casualties each month in Afghanistan.
Of the recorded casualties in 2002, about 91 percent were male. Of those injured, at least 260 required a single amputation, 51 a double amputation, and 75 lost their sight in one or both eyes. Children under 18 years of age accounted for more than half of the new casualties, 685 (53 percent) and 1,144 (89 percent) were civilians.
Casualties were reported in 29 provinces. The highest number of casualties was recorded in the provinces of Kabul (18 percent), Nangarhar (15 percent), Kandahar (9 percent), Herat (8 percent), and Parwan (8 percent). Only 83 mine casualties reported having received MRE before the incident occurred, and only 107 were aware that they were in a contaminated area.
In 2002, antipersonnel mines were responsible for 378 new casualties (30 percent), antitank mines 109 (9 percent), UXO 506 (39 percent), cluster munitions 78 (6 percent), fuzes 69 (5 percent), booby-traps 16 (1 percent), and the cause of 130 casualties (10 percent) is unknown. Activities at the time of the incident included tending animals (15 percent), playing or recreation (14 percent), collecting wood, fuel or scrap metal (9 percent), farming (9 percent), traveling on foot (9 percent), handling (9 percent), traveling by vehicle (8 percent), military activity (6 percent), incidental passing (6 percent), demining (2 percent), other activities or unknown (13 percent).
In 2002, twelve deminers and survey staff were killed, and 28 others injured in landmine and UXO accidents. Since 1990, there have been over 520 mine/UXO casualties recorded during survey and clearance activities, of which over 80 were killed, according to Afghanistan’s mine action community. Foreign casualties include a Bosnian demining specialist who lost a foot after stepping an antipersonnel mine in May 2002 and a Swiss deminer was injured in central Afghanistan in August 2002.
In 2002, several soldiers and peacekeepers have been killed or injured by landmines and UXO, during mine clearance operations, on patrol, or otherwise. Soldiers killed or injured in landmine incidents/accidents in 2002 include one Australian soldier killed and another injured and one Canadian, two French, three New Zealand, four Polish, two Romanian, and one Turkish soldier injured. US military casualties include five soldiers killed and ten injured in landmine and UXO incidents. There are also several reports of Afghan soldiers fighting with coalition forces killed and injured by landmines. In March 2002, three Danish and two German peacekeeping soldiers were killed and another eight injured while destroying missiles at a munitions dump in Kabul.
Mine casualties continue in 2003. The ICRC recorded 412 new mine/UXO casualties in the first six months of the year. In May 2003, the first death in Afghanistan’s nascent national army occurred when an Afghan soldier fresh from training stepped on a landmine while on patrol. Foreign nationals also continue to be killed and injured in landmine incidents in 2003. In January, a U.S. and Polish soldier were injured in a mine accident, and two more U.S. soldiers were injured in February and April. In April, several Italian soldiers were injured when their vehicle hit a mine in Khost Province. In May, one German peacekeeper was killed and another injured when their vehicle hit a mine. In July, three Dutch ISAF peacekeepers were injured when their vehicle hit a landmine near Kabul.
As of June 2003, the ICRC database contained 4,929 mine/UXO casualties between 1998 and 2001; 656 people were killed and 4,273 were injured. In 2001, 1,445 new casualties were recorded, 1,327 in 2000; 1,270 in 1999; and 887 in 1998. The database also contains information on 1,744 casualties recorded between 1980 and 1997, of which 365 were killed and 1,412 injured. Data collection is an on-going process and statistics are continually updated as new casualties, and those from previous periods, are identified.
In 2003, UNMACA recorded 846 new casualties from landmines, UXO and cluster munitions, of which 184 people were killed and 662 injured; at least 80 were females. In comparison, the ICRC recorded 847 mine/UXO casualties for the same period, including at least 384 children; 772 were civilians. However, key actors in mine action estimate that there are currently about 100 mine/UXO casualties a month in Afghanistan. The collection of comprehensive landmine casualty data in Afghanistan remains problematic, due in part to communication constraints and the time needed to centralize all the information. The ICRC is the principal source of mine casualty data, providing the UN Mine Action Program with about 95 percent of its information on new casualties. Many mine casualties are still believed to die before reaching medical assistance, and are therefore not recorded in the statistics. The Landmine Impact Survey data on casualties from 2001-2003 shows that 654 (38 percent) of the 1,714 landmine casualties recorded died from their injuries.
Mine casualties continue in 2004. The ICRC recorded 423 new mine/UXO casualties to the end of June 2004, including 47 people killed and 376 injured.
It is not possible at this time to determine the exact number of landmine casualties or mine survivors in Afghanistan. The number of estimated new mine casualties has declined over time. In 2000, it was estimated that casualties could be as high as 150 to 300 a month, a decrease from the 300-360 a month in 1997 and the estimate of 600 to 720 a month in 1993. At the end of 1997 it was estimated that between 90,000 and 104,000 people had been killed or injured by landmines, based on an average rate of 14-16 casualties per day for the 18 years since major mine-laying started; about 30 percent of those casualties were killed. However, in 1999, the Comprehensive Disabled Afghans’ Program (CDAP), estimated that as many as 800,000 people, or 4 percent of Afghanistan’s population, were disabled, including some 210,000 landmine-disabled. The Ministry of Martyrs and Disabled has collected data on a total of 75,688 persons with disabilities, including 13,624 mine survivors (18 percent).
As stated previously, the ICRC is the main source of mine casualty data in Afghanistan. The ICRC began collecting casualty data in March 1998 from 36 ICRC-supported health facilities in Kabul and a few other major cities. In January 2002, the ICRC expanded the program initiating community-based data gathering in all mine-affected areas of Afghanistan, except the Kandahar region where Handicap International has been involved in community-based data collection since 1998. Mine casualty data collection is now provided by about 492 health facilities supported by several agencies and organizations, including the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), Afghan Red Crescent Society, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, ICRC Orthopedic Centers, Aide Medicale International, HealthNet, Ibn Sina, Mercy Committee International, Afghan Health and Development Services, Norwegian Afghanistan Committee, International Medical Corps, Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance, Norwegian Project Office, Danish Afghan Committee, International Rescue Committee, Médecins Sans Frontières, Médecins Du Monde France, International Assistance Mission, Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, and others.
As of June 2004, the ICRC database contained information on 8,212 mine/UXO casualties between 1998 and 2004: 423 in 2004; 847 in 2003; 1,460 in 2002; 1,622 in 2001; 1,442 in 2000; 1,403 in 1999; and 1,015 in 1998. The database also contains information on more than 1,928 casualties recorded between 1980 and 1997. Data collection is an on-going process and statistics are continually updated as new casualties, and those from previous periods, are identified.
Handicap International also collects casualty data through its Community-based Mine Risk Education program. In 2003, HI recorded 265 new mine/UXO casualties in the Kandahar region; an increase over the 174 casualties recorded in 2002.
An analysis of ICRC casualty data reveals that in 2003, activities at the time of the incident included tampering (21 percent), tending animals (12 percent), traveling by vehicle (12 percent), playing or recreation (ten percent), collecting wood, fuel or scrap metal (eight percent), farming (seven percent), traveling on foot (six percent), military activity (five percent), incidental passing (four percent), demining (two percent), other activities or unknown (13 percent). Since 1998, 44 percent of casualties occurred while people were engaged in their daily activities (tending animals, collecting wood or water, farming, fishing/hunting or traveling on foot); 12 percent occurred while playing or engaged in other recreational activities.
In 2003, children under 18 years of age accounted for 384 new casualties (45 percent). Of the total 847 new casualties, 82 (ten percent) were female and 772 (91 percent) were civilians. Since 1998, children under 18 years of age accounted for 3,701 new casualties (45 percent). Of the total 8,212 casualties, 646 (eight percent) were female and 6,603 (80 percent) were civilians.
In 2003, antipersonnel mines were responsible for 272 new casualties (32 percent), antivehicle mines 113 (13 percent), UXO 284 (34 percent), cluster munitions ten (one percent), fuzes 49 (six percent), booby-traps 22 (three percent), and the cause of 97 casualties (eleven percent) is specified as other or unknown. Since 1998, antipersonnel mines were responsible for 3,712 casualties (45 percent), antivehicle mines 440 (six percent), UXO 2,691 (33 percent), cluster munitions 269 (three percent), fuzes 253 (three percent), booby-traps 107 (one percent), and the cause of 740 casualties (nine percent) is other or unknown.
In 2003, new mine/UXO casualties were reported in 32 of the 34 provinces in Afghanistan. The highest number of casualties was recorded in the provinces of Kabul (14 percent), Nangarhar (12 percent), Parwan (11 percent), Kandahar (9 percent), and Herat (7 percent). Only about four percent of casualties reported having received MRE before the incident occurred, and less than four percent were aware that they were in a contaminated area. Of those injured in 2003, at least 177 required an amputation and at least 44 suffered injuries to one or both eyes.
As of July 2004, the UNMACA database contained information on 13,874 mine/UXO casualties since 1988. The information provides an indication of the trends in reported mine casualties but does not provide a precise representation of the true number of casualties over time.
Mine/UXO Casualties recorded by UNMACA – 1988 to
*Reported casualties to July 2004
In 2003, three mine clearance personnel were killed and another 17 injured during survey or clearance activities. Since the start of mine action in Afghanistan in 1989 through 2003, more than 658 mine clearance personnel have been killed or injured during survey or clearance activities. The majority of accidents occurred between 1989 and 1999 with 63 personnel killed and 509 injured. Among the demining agencies, Afghan Technical Consultants (ATC) has experienced the highest number of accidents with 300 casualties reported, followed by DAFA with 118 casualties, MCPA with 74 casualties and OMAR with 66 casualties. In the first six months of 2004, another six deminers were killed or injured during clearance operations.
Soldiers and peacekeepers continued to be killed or injured by landmines and UXO in 2003, during mine clearance operations, on patrol, or otherwise. In January, a US and a Polish soldier were injured in a mine accident, and two more US soldiers were injured in February and April. In April, several Italian soldiers were injured when their vehicle hit a mine in Khost Province. In May, one German peacekeeper was killed and another injured when their vehicle hit a mine. In July, three Dutch ISAF peacekeepers were injured when their vehicle hit a landmine near Kabul.7 In October, two Canadian peacekeepers were killed and three others were injured when their vehicle hit an antivehicle mine in Kabul.
In May, the first death in Afghanistan’s nascent national army occurred when an Afghan soldier fresh from training stepped on a landmine while on patrol. There are also several other reports of Afghan soldiers fighting with coalition forces falling victim to landmines. In 2002, soldiers killed or injured in landmine incidents/accidents include one Australian soldier killed and another injured and one Canadian, two French, three New Zealand, four Polish, two Romanian, and one Turkish soldier injured. US military casualties include five soldiers killed and ten injured in landmine and UXO incidents. In March, three Danish and two German peacekeeping soldiers were killed and another eight injured while destroying missiles at a munitions dump in Kabul. In May, a Bosnian deminer lost a foot after stepping on an antipersonnel mine, and in August a Swiss deminer was injured in central Afghanistan. In December 2001, four US soldiers and one British soldier were injured in mine incidents.
US soldiers continue to be killed and injured in landmine incidents in 2004. In February, one soldier was killed and nine others injured when their vehicle hit an antivehicle mine in Ghazni province; and in a separate incident another soldier was injured after his vehicle hit a mine near Kunar. In March, three soldiers were injured when their vehicle hit a mine near Ghazni; and in a separate incident, two soldiers were injured by a landmine at Bagram airfield. In May, three soldiers were killed when their vehicle hit a mine in Kandahar. In June, four US soldiers were killed when their vehicle hit a mine in Zabul province.
In 2004, UNMACA recorded 878 new casualties from landmines, UXO and cluster munitions, of which 106 people were killed and 772 injured; at least 22 were female.[131 ] In comparison, ICRC recorded 895 mine/UXO casualties (128 killed and 767 injured) for the same period, including 449 children and 39 women; 837 were civilians.[132 ] This represents a 12 percent decrease from the 1,018 mine/UXO casualties (216 killed and 802 injured) recorded by UNMACA in 2003.[133 ]
The collection of comprehensive landmine casualty data in Afghanistan remains problematic, due in part to communication constraints and the time needed to centralize information. Key actors in mine action estimate that there are 100 new mine/UXO casualties each month, which is a significant reduction from earlier years.[134 ] However, many mine casualties are believed to die before reaching medical assistance and are therefore not recorded.
The Landmine Impact Survey data on mine/UXO casualties between 2001 and 2004 indicates that 922 (41 percent) of the 2,245 casualties recorded died from their injuries.[135 ] In comparison, ICRC and UNMACA data of recorded casualties in 2004 indicates that only 14 percent and 12 percent respectively are killed in mine/UXO incidents.
ICRC is the principal source of mine casualty data, providing the UNMACA with about 95 percent of its information on new casualties. ICRC carries out community-based data gathering in all mine-affected areas, except the Kandahar region where Handicap International does this (HI recorded 30 new mine/UXO casualties in Kandahar region in 2004).[136 ] Mine casualty data is provided by 490 health facilities supported by several agencies and organizations.[137 ]
Analysis of ICRC casualty data reveals that, in 2004, activities at the time of the incident included tampering (23 percent), tending animals (20 percent), traveling by vehicle (four percent), playing or recreation (13 percent), collecting wood, fuel or scrap metal (eight percent), farming (eight percent), traveling on foot (three percent), military activity (four percent), incidental passing (six percent), demining (two percent), other activities or unknown (nine percent).
In 2004, children under 18 years of age accounted for 449 new casualties (50 percent). Of the total 895 new casualties, 39 (four percent) were women and 837 (94 percent) were civilians. Antipersonnel mines were responsible for 292 new casualties (33 percent), antivehicle mines 36 (four percent), UXO 379 (42 percent), cluster munitions 26 (three percent), fuzes 58 (six percent), booby-traps 16 (two percent), and the cause of 88 casualties (ten percent) was “other” or unknown. New mine/UXO casualties were reported in all 34 provinces in Afghanistan. The highest number of casualties was recorded in the provinces of Kabul (14 percent), Herat (11 percent), Parwan (ten percent), Kandahar (ten percent), and Nangarhar (ten percent). About 12 percent of casualties reported having received MRE before the incident occurred, and about 86 percent were unaware that they were in a contaminated area. Of those injured in 2004, about 53 percent required an amputation and seven percent suffered eye injuries.
According to ICRC data, one deminer was killed and another 13 injured during mine clearance activities in 2004.[139 ] Another report said two deminers were killed and another 21 were injured in 2004.[140 ] On 6 January 2005, five deminers were injured in an accident involving an antivehicle mine.[141 ] On 18 July 2005, two Zimbabweans were killed and one was seriously injured during a mine clearance operation.[142 ] The ICRC reported 25 demining casualties between January and June 2005.
At least 10 soldiers and peacekeepers were killed and another 22 injured in mine incidents in 2004, during mine clearance operations, on patrol or otherwise. Reported incidents include one US soldier killed and nine others injured when their vehicle hit an antivehicle mine in Ghazni province in February; in a separate incident, another US soldier was injured after his vehicle hit a mine near Kunar.[143 ] In March, three US soldiers were injured when their vehicle hit a mine near Ghazni; in a separate incident, two US soldiers were injured by a landmine at Bagram airfield.[144 ] In May, three US soldiers were killed when their vehicle hit a mine in Kandahar.[145 ] In June, four US soldiers were killed when their vehicle hit a mine in Zabul province; in a separate incident, two French peacekeepers were injured after one of the soldiers stepped on a mine north of Kabul.[146 ] In July, a US soldier lost part of his foot in a mine explosion while on patrol in Bagram.[147 ] In August, a US soldier suffered burns and lacerations when his Humvee hit a mine.[148 ] On 16 October, two US soldiers were killed and three others injured when their vehicle struck a mine in Uruzgan province.[149 ]
In 2004, ICRC recorded six Afghan military personnel killed and 28 injured in mine/UXO incidents.
Mine casualties continues in 2005. The ICRC recorded 491 new mine/UXO casualties to the end of June 2005, including 83 people killed and 408 injured.
From January to July 2005, at least eight soldiers were killed and eight soldiers were injured, in landmine incidents. On 16 March, one US soldier was killed and four others were injured when their vehicle struck a mine in the western province of Herat; five Afghan civilians died when their truck hit a mine in the same area just hours later. On 26 March, four US soldiers were killed, when their vehicle struck a landmine in Logar province, 40 kilometers south of Kabul.[151 ] On 5 April, a US soldier, who had only been in Afghanistan for two weeks, lost part of his foot when he stepped on a landmine; in a separate April incident, another US soldier was injured when a landmine exploded while he was burning garbage.[152 ] On 26 April, one Romanian soldier was killed and two others injured in a mine explosion in Kandahar.[153 ] On 20 July 2005, two government soldiers were killed when their truck struck a landmine.[154 ]
From January to the end of March 2005, ICRC recorded two Afghan military personnel killed and 23 injured in mine/UXO incidents.
It is not possible at this time to determine the exact number of landmine casualties or mine survivors in Afghanistan. It is estimated that there are as many as 100,000 mine/UXO survivors.[156 ] As of March 2005, the Ministry of Martyrs and Disabled had collected data on 86,354 persons with disabilities in 33 provinces; however, the information available on the cause of disability was limited. In February 2004, it was reported that 18 percent of persons with disabilities that had been recorded by the Ministry were mine survivors.
As of June 2005, the ICRC database contained information on 9,931 mine/UXO casualties (1,673 killed and 8,258 injured) between 1998 and 2005: 491 in 2005; 895 in 2004; 958 in 2003; 1,577 in 2002; 1,740 in 2001; 1,583 in 2000; 1,532 in 1999; 1,155 in 1998. The database also contains information on more than 3,441 casualties recorded between 1980 and 1997. Data collection is an ongoing process and statistics are continually updated as new casualties, and those from previous periods, are identified.
At the end of May 2005, the UNMACA database contained information on 15,333 mine/UXO casualties since 1988, including 2,688 people killed and 12,645 injured; 990 were female.[158 ] The information provides an indication of the trends in reported mine casualties but does not provide a precise representation of the true number of casualties over time.
The recently completed Landmine Impact Survey recorded a total of 2,245 recent casualties (922 killed and 1,323 injured); 143 (six percent) were female. Of the total recent casualties: 416 (19 percent) were aged under 15 years; 924 (41 percent) were aged between 15 and 29; 1,336 (60 percent) were engaged in tending animals, farming, collecting food, water and fuel, or household duties at the time of the incident; only 63 (three percent) reported tampering with the device at the time of the incident.
The collection of comprehensive landmine casualty data in Afghanistan remains problematic, due in part to communication constraints and the time needed to centralize information. Key actors in mine action estimate that there are 70-100 new mine/ERW casualties each month, which is a significant reduction from earlier years. However, many mine casualties are believed to die before reaching medical assistance and are therefore not recorded. The government estimates that there are approximately 1,100 new mine/UXO casualties per year (or 92 per month), which is “a significant decrease from 1993 (600 to 720 monthly), 1997 (300 to 360 monthly) and 2000 (150 to 300 monthly).”
In 2005, UNMACA recorded 848 new casualties from landmines, UXO and cluster munitions, of which 150 people were killed and 698 injured. This represents a small decrease from the 857 mine/ERW casualties UNMACA recorded in 2004. However, in reality, the casualty rate seems to be relatively constant, with 846 casualties recorded in 2003, when a significant decline was recorded, compared to 1,194 casualties in 2002, and 1,667 in 2001. The UNMACA database is continually updated as information of recent casualties and information on casualties from prior periods becomes available. Usually there is a two-month gap between data collection and the final entry in the database, as casualty data received is sent back to the Area Mine Action Centers for verification and is then crosschecked at UNMACA in Kabul. The UNMACA database does not include casualties recorded by the Italian NGO, Emergency, or the Coalition Hospital.
In 2005, 190 casualties were caused by antipersonnel mines, 103 by antivehicle mines, two by unspecified landmines, 17 by cluster munitions and 404 by other UXO. Only 11 casualties were recorded as military personnel. UNMACA recorded at least 67 female casualties, but the vast majority of casualties are male (781 or 92 percent). With 427 recorded casualties, boys under 21 years constitute just over half of the casualties. In total, nearly 56 percent of casualties (472) were under 21 years, with the largest group of children being between seven and 14 years (274 or 54 percent); however, only 45 of the child casualties were female (32 between seven and 14 years). This is an increase compared to 449 child casualties in 2004 despite reportedly improved MRE in schools. The increase is possibly explained by the fact that the number of people returning from Pakistan and Iran forced people to utilize land that they have not used in the past. Additionally, as children traditionally tend animals and collect wood and water, they are at greater risk―particularly boys. Main activities at the time of incidents were tending animals (158), tampering (155, of which 119 involved UXO), traveling (116), collecting wood, food or water (78), playing/recreation (76) and farming (46).
ICRC is the main source of mine casualty data, providing the UNMACA with about 95 percent of its information on new casualties. ICRC carries out community-based data gathering in all mine-affected areas and mine casualty data is provided by 490 health facilities supported by several agencies and organizations. Differences between ICRC data and UNMACA casualty data are likely due to timing differences in updating data and continuous verification of the respective databases.
In 2005, ICRC recorded 898 mine/UXO casualties (137 killed and 761 injured), a small decrease from 940 casualties recorded in 2004. According to ICRC data, 272 casualties were caused by antipersonnel mines, 87 by antivehicle mines, 24 by cluster munitions and 420 by other UXO. Fifty-six of the casualties were recorded as military personnel. At least 75 casualties were female, including 48 girls under 18 years. ICRC records show 397 casualties among children under 18 years (44 percent) and 496 under 21 years (55 percent); the age group of seven to 14 years accounted for 55 percent of casualties (272). Most common activities at the time of the incident were tampering (188 casualties), tending animals (174), playing or recreation (103), traveling (94), collecting wood or food (87), and farming (53). New mine/ERW casualties were reported in 32 of the 34 provinces in Afghanistan, with 21 percent in Herat, 14 percent in Kandahar, 11 percent in Kabul and eight percent in Nangarhar; the only provinces without reported casualties in 2005 were Nimruz and Daykondi. Approximately 12 percent of the casualties reported having received MRE before the incident occurred, and about 84 percent of casualties occurred in unmarked areas. Of those injured in 2005, approximately 30 percent required an upper or lower limb amputation.
Handicap International (HI) collects casualty data in the southern and western parts of Afghanistan via its Community Based Mine Action Program (CBMAP). HI recorded 201 new mine/ERW casualties (82 killed and 119 injured) in 2005, which is a significant increase from 152 in 2004. The increase in casualties in the Kandahar region is reportedly due to increased tensions in the area and the return of refugees and internally displaced people to the area.
In 2005, Emergency admitted 488 new mine casualties in its three surgical centers and health posts. These casualties are reportedly not sent directly to UNMACA, but to the Ministry of Public Health. However, there likely is a significant overlap with other data collectors; at least in Kabul, where many people treated at the Emergency hospital would be recorded while receiving ICRC rehabilitation services. According to ICRC, more than 70 people who were injured in 2005 and who received treatment by Emergency have received ICRC rehabilitation and are included in the database.
Landmine Monitor media analysis identified at least 230 mine/UXO casualties, including 108 killed and 122 injured, in 2005. The majority of reported casualties were foreign or Afghan military personnel. Civilian casualties included three people injured and one killed by a landmine on 22 October when they were driving to Khost city; the person killed was a radio journalist. In November, six people were killed and six injured, including several women and children, when a passenger vehicle hit an antivehicle mine 70 kilometers from Dalabadin, just 100 meters on the Afghan side of the border with Pakistan. Two boys between nine and 12 years old were killed and two were injured by a landmine while herding animals in Khost province in November. Reportedly the boys found the old mine, which had washed up due to the rains, and set it on fire.
According to UNMACA, nine deminers were killed and 21 injured during mine clearance activities in 2005. Another five deminers were injured in mine incidents not related to their work. The ICRC reported 35 demining casualties in 2005. Landmine Monitor identified at least 13 deminers killed and 14 injured in demining accidents reported in the media. On 18 July 2005, two Zimbabweans were killed and one was seriously injured during a mine clearance operation. On 2 October, a Zimbabwean deminer was injured during mine clearance for MineTech.
Landmine Monitor identified at least 49 soldiers and peacekeepers killed, and another 61 injured in mine incidents reported in the media in 2005. The majority of casualties were Afghan soldiers and police (35 killed and 32 injured). At least 14 foreign soldiers and peacekeepers were killed and 30 injured in mine incidents, including personnel from Portugal, France, Romania and the US. On 16 March, one US soldier was killed and four others were injured when their vehicle struck a mine in the western province of Herat; five Afghan civilians died when their truck hit a mine in the same area just hours later. On 5 April, a US soldier, who had only been in Afghanistan for two weeks, lost part of his foot when he stepped on a landmine; in another incident in April, another US soldier was injured when a landmine exploded while he was burning garbage. On 26 April, one Romanian soldier was killed and two others injured in a mine explosion in Kandahar. In November, one Portuguese peacekeeper was killed and three others injured, when a landmine exploded while they were on patrol in the east of Kabul. Also in November, five Afghan policemen were killed and two injured when their car hit a landmine in Omna district of Paktika province.
Over the course of 2005, 15 US military personnel were killed by attacks involving IEDs in Afghanistan. As of 17 March, six US military personnel had been killed by landmines and one death was attributed to “exploded ordnance.” Four Swedish soldiers were involved in an IED incident.
At least five international reconstruction workers were killed and five injured in six IED incidents in Farah, Helmand, Paktia and Nangarhar provinces. Seven deminers were also killed in IED attacks. However, UNMACA, HI and ICRC do not collect information on IED casualties as this is considered to be a security issue.
Mine casualties continued to be recorded in 2006. UNMACA recorded 194 new mine/UXO casualties as of 15 June 2006, including 32 killed and 162 injured. Antipersonnel mines caused 41 casualties; antivehicle mines, 17; cluster munitions, four; other UXO, 108; and the remainder unknown.
The ICRC recorded 160 new mine/UXO casualties to the end of March, including 21 people killed and 139 injured. Antipersonnel mines caused 36 casualties; antivehicle mines, 10; cluster munitions, two; other UXO, 95; and the remainder unknown. From January to the end of March 2006, ICRC recorded three Afghan military personnel killed and five injured in seven landmine incidents. HI recorded 42 new mine/UXO casualties in the Kandahar regions between January and April 2006.
Landmine Monitor media analysis identified at least 67 new landmine casualties reported in the media from 1 January 2006 to 15 June 2006, including 35 killed and 32 injured. The majority were military personnel or police (31), including 18 Afghans and 13 foreign soldiers from the UK, US and France. Foreign civilians from Turkey, India and Russia were also involved in mine incidents. On 7 February, a Turkish engineer, an Indian colleague and two Afghan colleagues were killed when their vehicle struck a landmine in Farah province. On 19 February, one person was killed and six injured in a landmine explosion in front of a private residence; it is believed the mine was placed there in the context of a personal conflict. Also in February, two Russian embassy staff were injured when one of them stepped off the road onto a landmine in Hairatan, northern Afghanistan. They were rushed to a hospital in Uzbekistan for treatment. On 12 April, three British soldiers were injured when their vehicle hit a mine in Helmand province; it is thought to be the first British landmine incident in Afghanistan. On 29 April, two children were killed and two more injured when an antivehicle mine detonated while the children were herding cows in Ghazni province. In May, four health workers were killed when their vehicle drove over a landmine in Vardak province. Also in May, a French soldier was severely injured during a mine clearance accident near Kabul airport; he died later at the hospital. In May and June, two people were killed in incidents that reportedly involved newly laid mines; on 23 May, a cyclist was killed when he cycled over a mine believed to be planted by the Taliban in Andar district of Ghazni province. On 7 June, a suspected Talib was killed when the mine he was planting at the sports grounds in Sharan, the capital of Paktika province, exploded prematurely. On 15 June, an ATC deminer was killed while defusing a mine in Paktia province.
IED incidents occured at an increasing rate in the first five months of 2006. By 17 March, nine US military personnel had been killed in Afghanistan as a result of IED attacks in 2006. Six Canadian soldiers were also involved in IED incidents, resulting in four killed and two injured.
It is not possible to determine the exact number of landmine casualties or mine survivors in Afghanistan. There could be as many as 100,000 mine/UXO survivors. As of November 2005, the Ministry of Martyrs and Disabled had collected data on 86,354 people with disabilities in 33 provinces; however, the information available on the cause of disability was limited. In February 2004, it was reported that 18 percent of people with disabilities recorded by the ministry were mine survivors. Results of an HI study on disability stated that there are between 747,500 and 867,100 people with disabilities, of whom approximately 17 percent are war disabled (126,000 to 146,000). According to HI, seven percent of those war disabled are mine survivors injured after the war; this would indicate that there are between 52,000 and 60,000 mine/UXO survivors in Afghanistan.
On 31 December 2005, the UNMACA database contained information on 15,215 mine/UXO casualties since 1988 (and one from 1966), including 2,627 people killed and 12,588 injured; 1,074 (seven percent) were female. Children under 21 years account for 8,217 casualties (54 percent), making children between seven and 14 years the largest group of casualties at 4,487 (400 girls, 4,087 boys). The second largest age group is people between 27 and 40 years (3,036 casualties), followed by children between 15 and 20 years (2,967). Most casualties occurred in Kabul province (4,339), followed by Nangarhar (1,946), Herat (1,045) and Kandahar (1,043). The information provides an indication of the trends in reported mine casualties but does not provide a precise representation of the true number of casualties over time. As of 30 May 2006, 15,289 casualties had been recorded in the UNMACA database.
At the end of March 2006, the ICRC database contained information on 11,038 mine/UXO casualties (1,906 killed and 9,132 injured) between 1998 and 2006: 160 in 2006; 898 in 2005; 940 in 2004; 1,011 in 2003; 1,654 in 2002; 1,856 in 2001; 1,710 in 2000; 1,587 in 1999; and 1,222 in 1998. At least 4,471 casualties were children under 18 years old. Most incidents occurred in Kabul (1,810), Nangarhar (1,120), Parvan (1,057) and Herat (962). The database also contains information on approximately 3,500 casualties recorded between 1980 and 1997. Data collection is an ongoing process and statistics are continually updated as new casualties, and those from previous periods, are identified.
Between 2001 and 2004, the Landmine Impact Survey identified 2,245 recent mine/ERW casualties (922 killed and 1,323 injured); 143 (six percent) were female. Of the total recent casualties: 416 (19 percent) were under 15 years; 924 (41 percent) were aged between 15 and 29 years. Sixty percent of casualties (1,336) were tending animals, farming, collecting food, water and fuel, or doing household duties at the time of the incident; only three percent (63) reported tampering with the device. No less than 45 percent of all recent casualties were in Kabul, Parvan and Takhar provinces, with 20 percent in Kabul province alone. According to the Survey Action Center, this is an extraordinarily high number of victims for a young age group (mostly boys), compared to other countries where a similar survey has been conducted. UNMACA and ICRC recorded even higher percentages of child casualties; UNMACA total statistics show that 35 percent of casualties since 1980 are children under 15 years (mostly boys). ICRC data shows that 43 percent of casualties since 1998 are aged under 18 years; and between 2001 and 2004, 2,502 of 5,461 recorded casualties (46 percent) were boys and girls younger than 18 years. According to experts, children have had, and continue to have, a traditional role in rural Afghan families supporting the home.
Mines are still used in personal feuds in eastern Afghanistan, which can have grave consequences. In Nurestan, for example, an area of approximately two square kilometers is mined due to feuds and inter-clan conflicts. This has resulted in approximately 70 casualties over the years, mainly women performing agricultural activities. In the Kandahar and Herat regions, demobilization activities have caused problems as ammunition depots are left abandoned, which is responsible for increased scrap metal collection and tampering. People in the south see mines more as a risk, due to the generally more volatile situation, than people in the north, but radio messages are less effective in the southern parts of the country as there is less infrastructure. With older people, more fatalistic attitudes might lead to greater risk taking.
In 2006 International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) recorded 796 mine/ERW casualties (98 killed and 698 injured), an 18 percent decrease from 2005 (966 casualties)―the first marked decrease in casualties since 2002. Within the total, 194 casualties were caused by antipersonnel mines, 91 by antivehicle mines, 22 by cluster submunitions and 424 by other ERW. Forty-nine of the casualties were military personnel and three were demining casualties. At least 77 casualties were female, including 60 girls under 18 years. Despite the overall decrease, there were substantial increases in casualties in the younger age groups: there were 469 casualties among children under 18 years (59 percent) which is an increase of 15 percent from 2005; 530 casualties were aged under 21 years (66.6 percent) which is an 11 percent increase; 342 casualties were aged seven to 14 years (43 percent) which is an 15 percent increase. Most common activities at the time of the incident were tampering (204 casualties, including 128 children), tending animals (165―117 children), playing or recreation (90―88 children), traveling (100), collecting wood or food (70) and farming (42). Almost all the child-tampering casualties were boys (119 of 128), as were the child casualties tending animals (111 of 117). Only three percent of the 2006 casualties reported having received MRE before the incident occurred, and five percent of casualties knowingly engaged in risk-taking behavior out of economic necessity. Ninety percent of casualties were not aware of the contamination.
ICRC data also showed that in 2006 there were new mine/ERW casualties in 30 of the 34 provinces in Afghanistan, with 14 percent (down from 21 percent) in Herat, 11 percent in Kandahar (down from 14), 10 percent in Helmand (up from three), eight percent in Zabul (up from one) and six percent in Nangarhar (down from eight). Both Zabul and Helmand experienced increased conflict in 2006. The only provinces without reported casualties in 2006 were Daykondi, Ghor, Nimruz and Nuristan. Of those injured in 2006, approximately 33 percent required an upper or lower limb amputation.
UNMACA reported 784 new mine/ERW casualties (120 people killed and 664 injured), a 7.5 percent decrease from 2005 (848). From 2003 to 2005 casualties remained relatively constant at around 70-100 per month, while in 2006 the average was 60 casualties per month. This is “a significant decrease from 1993 (600 to 720 monthly), 1997 (300 to 360 monthly) and 2000 (150 to 300 monthly).” According to UNMACA, 160 casualties were caused by antipersonnel mines, 92 by antivehicle mines, 16 by cluster submunitions and 401 by other ERW. Only 11 casualties were recorded as military personnel and 36 were deminers (three killed and 33 injured). UNMACA recorded at least 79 female casualties, but the vast majority of casualties were male (705, or 90 percent). However, UNMACA was unable to provide a breakdown of clearance casualties by mine action agency.
Child casualties are usually defined as being younger than 18 years, but UNMACA was unable to provide this breakdown, which impedes comparison with other mine/ERW-affected countries. It reported that “boys” under 21 years constituted over half of the casualties (56.5 percent). In total, 64 percent of casualties (502) were aged under 21 years, with the largest group being between seven and 14 years (353); only 59 of the “child” casualties were female. This is a significant increase in child casualties from 472 in 2005 and 449 in 2004, despite a focus on boys and men in MRE activities and increasingly ERW-oriented MRE. Children, particularly boys, traditionally tend animals and collect wood and water which puts them at risk from mines/ERW. Main activities at the time of incidents were tampering (167), tending animals (142), playing/recreation (92), traveling (84), collecting wood, food or water (71) and farming (46).
Handicap International (HI) collects casualty data in the southern and western parts of Afghanistan via its Community Based Mine Action Program. HI recorded 89 new mine/ERW casualties (38 killed and 51 injured) in 2006, a significant decrease from 201 in 2005. This decrease is attributed to the limitations imposed on data collection by the poor security situation in some southern and western provinces during 2006.
The increase in ERW casualties which started after the US-led offensive (October 2001-March 2002) continued in 2006-2007. Until 2002 antipersonnel mines caused the majority of casualties.
The majority of casualties reported in the media were foreign or Afghan military personnel and police. At least 29 US soldiers were killed in mine/IED incidents (including two killed by antivehicle mines). Other foreign military casualties included personnel from Canada, France, Netherlands, UK and US. Foreign civilians from India, Russia and Turkey were also injured. During 2006 and early 2007 IED incidents increased rapidly; most IEDs appeared to be remote-detonated and targeted at international forces, Afghan police, military and officials, but also international aid organizations. UNMACA and ICRC do not record information on foreign casualties, and do not collect information on IED incidents as these are considered to be a security issue.
Mine casualties continued to be recorded in 2007. UNMACA recorded 141 new mine/ERW casualties to May 2007, but was only able to provide details on 36 casualties (three killed and 33 injured). At least 23 of the casualties were female and six were deminers, but no further details on the casualties or device types were provided.
In January 2007 the ICRC database was merged with the UNMACA database, after which ICRC ceased to provide casualty updates.
In 2007, Landmine Monitor identified at least 811 new casualties due to mines, ERW and victim-activated IEDs in Afghanistan, including 208 killed, 601 injured, and two whose status was unknown. Of these, MACA recorded 750 casualties in 435 incidents (172 killed, 576 injured and two unknown). MACA data did not include information on foreign nationals and limited information on people injured by victim-activated IEDs, as it considered this a security issue outside the scope of its operations. Landmine Monitor media analysis identified at least 61 additional casualties from 22 incidents (36 killed and 25 injured), including 38 civilians and 23 foreign soldiers from Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Handicap International (HI) recorded 74 mine/ERW casualties in Kandahar province in 2007 and all were included in the MACA database.
Analysis of MACA casualty data for 2007 shows that most mine/ERW/IED casualties were civilian (593), 45 were deminers, 37 were from the Afghan National Security Forces (two under age 18), and the status of 75 was unknown (including 33 children). Children constituted 48% of civilian casualties.
The most common activity at the time of the incident was traveling (159), followed by playing/recreation (106), unknown (87), and tending animals (86). Fewer incidents were caused by tampering (39). No casualties were reported in five provinces (Daykondi, Ghor, Nimruz, Nuristan, and Panjsheer). Most incidents occurred in the conflict-ridden provinces of Kandahar (163) and Helmand (90), followed by Kabul (67), Parwan (56), and Herat (40). Only 3% of casualties reported receiving mine/ERW RE and 55% stated they had not received RE; for the remaining casualties (312, 42%) this information was not known. Almost three-quarters of casualties happened in areas that were not marked, including 123 of the antipersonnel and 118 of the antivehicle mine casualties.
NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) reported that they maintained records on discovered and detonated IEDs, including IED casualties, reported to them. In 2007, it received reports of 20 ISAF soldiers and 120 civilians killed by IEDs, and 150 ISAF soldiers and 350 civilians injured. The type of IED used (command-detonated or victim-activated) was not known for the majority of casualties. At least 10 ISAF soldiers and 10 Afghan civilians were killed, and 40 ISAF soldiers and 15 civilians injured, by victim-activated IEDs. The majority of incidents occurred in eastern and southern Afghanistan. The US Department of Defense reported that 25 US military personnel were killed in incidents involving IEDs. One soldier died from a landmine explosion. These casualties have not been included in the total as insufficient detail was available for cross-checking.
There continued to be a decrease in recorded casualties in 2007. It was reported that there were on average 60 casualties per month in 2007, down from 138 per month in 2001. In 2006, MACA recorded 893 casualties (133 killed, 759 injured, and one unknown); the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) recorded 796 casualties for the same period. However, when comparing the two databases for 2006, it is possible that there were up to 1,053 casualties in 658 incidents (150 killed, 902 injured and one unspecified); 640 casualties were recorded both by the ICRC and MACA. However, MACA recorded 253 additional casualties which were not in the ICRC database and 160 casualties were only recorded by the ICRC. MACA stated that due to ongoing conflict and inaccessibility of the conflict areas, casualties were likely to be under-reported, especially in southern Afghanistan.
In 2007, there were significant changes in the location, activity, and device type causing incidents compared to 2006. While the number of casualties due to antipersonnel mines remained relatively constant, casualties due to antivehicle mines, usually while traveling, doubled (from 10% to 20%). Most of the antivehicle mine incidents occurred in Helmand and Kandahar provinces (109 of 156) which supports evidence of new mine use. The number of casualties due to submunitions increased in 2007 (from 2% to 4%), and the percentage of casualties due to other ERW decreased (from 40% to 32%). Casualties due to tampering decreased by 88% (from 177 to 39), especially among children, probably due to an increased RE focus on this issue. The number of casualties occurring while traveling nearly doubled (from 90 to 159). In 2007, casualties continued to decrease sharply in Herat (from 127 to 40) probably due to clearance activities. In Kandahar, casualties continued to increase to nearly a quarter of all casualties (from 15% to 22%). Elsewhere casualty rates remained relatively constant. Child casualties decreased in 2007 (from 52% to 43%), but boys continued to constitute a similar percentage of casualties.
Casualties continued to be reported in 2008, with at least 371 casualties recorded by Landmine Monitor as of 23 June 2008 (88 killed, 282 injured and one unspecified). Of these, MACA recorded 331 (69 killed, 261 injured and one unspecified), including 294 civilians, 11 deminers, 17 Afghan National Security Forces (including three children), and nine unknown. More than half of the casualties were children (181), including 154 boys. ERW caused 136 casualties (including three submunition casualties), antipersonnel mines 67, and antivehicle mines 47. The other casualties were caused by fuzes, booby-traps, or unknown devices. Most casualties occurred in Kandahar (61), Baghlan (42, more than the whole of 2007), and Helmand (31) provinces. Landmine Monitor identified 40 additional casualties (19 killed and 21 injured) including three Afghan civilians, four Canadian deminers, 17 foreign military, nine Afghan police and seven Taliban.
In 2008, ISAF noted that the number of victim-activated IED incidents increased sharply compared to 2007. From 1 January to 22 May 2008, 310 victim-activated IED cases were reported; of these 120 detonated. ISAF recorded 10 ISAF soldiers and 10 Afghan civilians killed, and 75 ISAF soldiers and 20 civilians injured by victim-activated IEDs for this period. From 1 January to 1 July 2008, the US Department of Defense reported 31 US military personnel killed as a result of IED attacks.
Casualty data collection in Afghanistan remains incomplete due to the security situation, communication constraints, unequal coverage, and the time needed to centralize information. MACA is responsible for maintaining and verifying the casualty database in the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA). The IMSMA database is updated continuously as new information is received from AMACs or other sources. Regular updates are sent to RE and victim assistance (VA) implementers for planning purposes and tailor-made data sets are available on request.
Casualty data is collected mainly by the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) through a network of 490 health centers throughout the country, in cooperation with authorities, hospitals, and NGOs. This data constitutes some 90–95% of casualty data entered into IMSMA. In 2007, data on 606 casualties was recorded by ARCS volunteers. At the end of 2006, the ICRC handed its casualty database over to MACA and handed responsibility for maintaining the data collection network over to the ARCS. However, the ICRC continued supporting data collection in the south until July 2007 due to a lack of ARCS capacity in that region. The ICRC continued to monitor data collection throughout 2007 and planned to provide technical advice until the end of 2008. In 2007, MACA modified the ICRC/ARCS standard reporting format slightly to make it more adjusted to IMSMA. In Kandahar, HI is an important source of casualty data.
The MACA database contains standardized and detailed information on personal details, device type, activity, incident location, RE provision, and marked areas. Unlike the ICRC database no detail on sustained injuries is recorded, nor does the database contain information on services received. The data is not complete as it does not contain information on casualties among foreign troops and limited information on victim-activated IED casualties: 2007 was the only year in which a limited number of victim-activated IED casualties were recorded. Comparison between the ICRC and MACA databases shows that while the MACA database was increasingly complete—and in 2006 it was more complete than the ICRC database—gaps still remained.
The total number of mine/ERW casualties in Afghanistan is unknown. MACA recorded 17,487 casualties between 1979 and February 2008, including 3,002 killed and 14,485 injured. Some 55% were under 20 years old and 92% of casualties were male. Until 31 December 2006, the ICRC recorded 16,450 mine/ERW casualties. ICRC data indicated that 37% of casualties required an amputation of at least one limb. Media reports stated that 822 deminers and support staff had been killed by mines. In July 2008, MACA reported that 371 civilian deminers had been killed.
The most recent numbers on persons with disabilities remain those from the National Disability Survey in Afghanistan, which estimated there were between 747,500 and 867,100 persons with disabilities in Afghanistan, including some 52,000 to 60,000 mine/ERW survivors. Disability questions were included in the national census which was scheduled for 2008 but postponed until 2010.
UNICEF supported the Ministry of Public Health (MPH) in 2006 to integrate mine/ERW casualty data into a national injury surveillance system, but as of April 2008, this system had not been created.
The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan became a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty on 1 March 2003. It has not adopted national implementation legislation. Afghanistan completed destruction of its known stockpiles of more than 486,000 antipersonnel mines in October 2007, eight months after its treaty deadline. It has discovered or recovered and destroyed tens of thousands of additional mines since then. Taliban forces have used antipersonnel mines sporadically since 2001.
Afghanistan’s demining program is the world’s largest and oldest, but in 2006–2007 it underwent extensive operational reform, restructuring, and refocusing to increase the efficiency and competitiveness of the UN’s implementing partners as well as to reflect the threat to mine clearance from growing insurgency. In 2008, demining organizations released more than 250km2, a record for the program.
The Mine Action Center for Afghanistan recorded at least 12,069 casualties from mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) between 1999 and 2008, including 1,612 killed and 10,457 injured. Casualties are likely under-reported due to the difficult terrain, ongoing insecurity which impedes access for data collectors, and because fatal casualties were often not reported from 1999–2002. The overwhelming majority of recorded casualties were civilians. The casualty toll in 2008 was less than half the level in 2001, but rose for the first time since that year. It is estimated there are up to 60,000 survivors.
Extensive mine/ERW risk education (RE) conducted over the last 10 years by approximately 15 organizations reached up to 3.5 million people a year. RE has focused on communities, internally displaced persons, and returning refugees. From 2002–2006, UNICEF supported RE technically and financially. In 2003, RE began to focus more on community-based activities and behavioral change strategies. School-based RE programs have also been developed. However, two evaluations in 2008 found that RE programs needed more understanding of the problem and to work more through established institutions.
Despite increased national ownership and interest in victim assistance (VA) and disability issues, increased survivor inclusion and better policy frameworks, there was little real improvement in the situation of survivors. This is in part due to the very low development level in Afghanistan and continued conflict, but also because of a lack of capacity and prioritization. Afghanistan has developed a VA plan as part of its 2005–2009 commitment to the Nairobi Action Plan, but implementation is facing significant challenges.
In 2008, Landmine Monitor identified at least 992 new casualties in 553 incidents due to mines, ERW, and victim-activated IEDs in Afghanistan, including 266 people killed and 726 injured. Of these, MACCA recorded 831 casualties in 515 incidents (187 killed and 644 injured). MACCA data did not include information on foreign nationals or on people injured by victim-activated IEDs, as this is a security issue outside the scope of its operations. Landmine Monitor media analysis identified 161 additional casualties from 38 incidents (79 killed and 82 injured), including foreign soldiers from the United Kingdom, US, Romania, Poland, Latvia, Denmark, and Canada (including four military deminers).
The 2008 casualty rate is the first marked increase since 2005 and is due to intensified conflict. This can be seen from the increasing number of civilian casualties in conflict areas such as Kandahar, Helmand, and Ghazni and from the increasing number of military casualties among foreign troops as well as Afghan forces. In 2007, Landmine Monitor identified 842 casualties: 781 through MACCA and 61 through other sources. The average monthly casualty rate of 83 in 2008 is still significantly lower than 172 per month in 2001 or 94 in 2005. Due to ongoing conflict and inaccessibility of the conflict areas, casualties were likely to be under-reported, especially in southern Afghanistan.
Analysis of MACCA casualty data for 2008 shows that most mine/ERW casualties were civilian (704, including three government officials), 51 were deminers, 35 were from the Afghan National Security Forces, and 41 were unknown or “other.” Children constituted 56% of civilian casualties (393); a significant increase from 48% in 2007. Nearly half of the civilian casualties were boys (342, up from 41% in 2007). This can be explained by an increase in ERW incidents among children, particularly boys (up to 33% from 20% in 2007). The number of child casualties deliberately handling the device did not increase. The second largest group was men (280), followed by girls (51), and women (25); the age of six males was unknown.
MACCA reported antipersonnel mines caused 153 casualties, antivehicle mines 125, ERW 474, and unknown devices 25. Due to changes in the data collection mechanism MACCA was unable to provide a more detailed breakdown of types of ERW causing casualties in 2008.
The most common activity at the time of the incident was traveling (139), followed by tending animals (132), playing/recreation (130), unknown (104), and collecting wood/food/water (91). While traveling casualties remained relatively stable compared to 2007 (down to 17% from 20%), more casualties were recorded while carrying out livelihood activities (up to 34% from 27%), possibly due to harsher living circumstances caused by conflict. Only 38 casualties were caused by tampering (40 in 2007). No casualties were reported in three provinces (Daykondi, Farah, and Samangan). Three provinces without casualties in 2007 recorded casualties in 2008 (Nimruz, Nuristan, and Panjsheer). Most incidents occurred in the conflict-ridden provinces in the south (227), mostly in Kandahar (130), Helmand (75), and Ghazni (91) in the restive southeastern part of Afghanistan, followed by Kabul (60) and Baghlan (51). Only 21 casualties (3%, similar to 2007) reported receiving mine/ERW RE and 364 stated they had not received RE; for the remaining casualties (446) this information was not known. Some 60% of incidents occurred in areas that were not marked.
ISAF maintained records on IED casualties and noted that the number of victim-activated IED incidents increased sharply compared to 2007. From 1 January to 22 May 2008, ISAF recorded 10 ISAF soldiers and 10 Afghan civilians killed, and 75 ISAF soldiers and 20 civilians injured by victim-activated IEDs. These casualties could not be included in the 2008 casualty total as insufficient information was available for cross-checking.
Casualties continued to be reported in 2009 with at least 177 casualties in 84 incidents as of 31 May (45 killed and 132 injured). MACCA recorded 150 casualties in 78 incidents (29 killed and 121 injured), including 141 civilians, six deminers, and three of unknown status. More than 60% of casualties were children (93), including 83 boys. ERW caused 99 casualties, antipersonnel mines 29, and antivehicle mines 22. Most casualties occurred in Kandahar and Nangarhar (18 each), Kabul (17), and Helmand (14) provinces. Landmine Monitor identified 27 additional casualties in six incidents (16 killed and 11 injured) including 18 Afghan civilians.
Between 1999 and the end of 2008, MACA recorded 12,069 mine/ERW casualties, including 1,612 killed and 10,457 injured. Most casualties occurred in 2001 (2,062), due to conflict and population movements. Fatal casualties appear to be underreported, particularly between 1999 and 2002. At least 5,607 casualties were civilians, 441 deminers and 504 military; the status of 4,793 was unknown and 724 had ‘other’ as status. Most casualties were men (5,555), followed by boys (4,994), girls (642), and women (350).
Of the total, 3,282 casualties were due to antipersonnel mines, 831 due to antivehicle mines, 4,646 due to ERW, and 3,310 due to unknown devices. Only in 1999 did antipersonnel mines cause more casualties than ERW. The percentage of casualties due to unknown devices decreased every year from 32% in 1999 to 13% in 2008. Most antivehicle mine casualties happened in 2007 (155 or 20% of casualties) due to alleged increased use.
MACCA recorded 19,706 casualties between 1979 and 26 May 2009. According to estimates drawn from the 2005 Afghanistan National Disability Survey, Afghanistan has some 52,000 to 60,000 mine/ERW survivors. 
Casualties in 2009 (Last Updated: 04 October 2010)
For 2009, Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor identified at least 859 new casualties due to mines, explosive remnants of war (ERW), and victim-activated improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Afghanistan; this was a significant decrease (13%) from the 992 casualties identified for 2008.
The Mine Action Coordination Center of Afghanistan (MACCA) recorded 539 mine/ERW casualties (118 killed and 421 injured) for 2009 including 491 civilians, 34 deminers, three off-duty military personnel, and 11 of unknown civilian/military status. Children (269) accounted for 55% of recorded civilian casualties (228 boys and 41 girls). Of the 270 adult casualties, 234 were men and 36 were women. One deminer was killed (a national of Bosnia and Herzegovina) and 33 were injured (all Afghan nationals) in 32 accidents.
This represented a significant decrease from the 831 casualties MACCA recorded for 2008. The reason for the steep decline in reported civilian casualties was not known. No changes in data collection in 2009 were known to account for the decrease. As in previous years, MACCA data did not include IED casualties.
Handicap International (HI) recorded 27 additional civilian casualties for 2009 (23 killed and four injured), including 19 children (16 boys and three girls).
Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor analysis of United States military data made available through the Guardian newspaper identified 293 casualties of victim-activated IEDs (71 killed and 222 injured): 168 foreign military casualties (24 killed and 144 injured), 66 Afghan military casualties (18 killed and 48 injured), and 59 civilian casualties (29 killed and 30 injured) in 166 incidents. For 2008, Landmine Monitor recorded 161 casualties (79 killed and 82 injured) identified through media analysis in addition to those reported by MACCA for 2008 including foreign soldiers and military deminers.
Some 743 casualties of cluster munition remnants were recorded between 1980 and the end of 2009. In addition, at least 26 casualties during the use of cluster munitions have been recorded.
MACCA recorded 20,095 casualties between 1979 and the end of 2009.
May 29, 2011
video stills Back Home Tomorrow. Directed by Fabrizio Lazzaretti, Paolo Santolini. 2008.
May 25, 2011
study for work in progress
pencil, water soluble crayon on paper, 24 x 18 inches, 2011.