Use by non-state armed groups (NSAGs)

Use: Over the past year, non-state armed groups (NSAGs) have used antipersonnel landmines in 10 countries,[1]with continued large-scale use of victim-activated improvised mines (victim-activated IEDs) across Afghanistan. In the reporting period, there were also reports of NSAG use of antivehicle mines in Afghanistan.

The use of victim-activated improvised mines (victim-activated IEDs) continued in Afghanistan by armed groups, mainly the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and Hezb-e-Islami, that oppose the government. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) reported that anti-government forces used victim-activated improvised mines in decreasing numbers during early 2016. Victim-activated (pressure plate) improvised mines were responsible for almost half of all casualties recorded from IEDs during the first half of 2016, down 17% from 2015.[2]During this reporting period, NSAGs and criminal groups in Afghanistan were reported to possess stocks of factory-made antipersonnel mines or components to manufacture improvised mines (victim-activated IEDs).

Non-functioning antipersonnel mines in stocks for clearance training: Afghanistan is among several States Parties that are still reporting as retained antipersonnel mines devices that are fuzeless, inert, rendered free from explosives, or otherwise irrevocably rendered incapable of functioning as an antipersonnel mine, including by the destruction of the fuzes. Technically, these are no longer considered antipersonnel mines as defined by the Mine Ban Treaty.[3]

Contamination and Clearance

Estimated extent of mine contamination at end of 2015

AfghanistanMassive (More than 100 km2)

Afghanistan is one of 15 States Parties that do not have a complete picture of the extent of contamination, as there are unrecorded areas. But, The Committee on Article 5 Implementation assessed the degree of clarity of the remaining challenge, finding that Afghanistan was one of only seven of the 17 States Parties assessed had provided a high degree of clarity in their reporting.

Afghanistan was recorded as coming third place of all programs for clearing the largest amount of mined area in 2015, after Cambodia and Croatia:

Amount of mined area cleared in 2015

State Mined area cleared (km2) Antipersonnel mines destroyed
  35.4 4,486

However, Afghanistan is not on track to meet its deadline for clearance:

States Parties with antipersonnel mine contamination, their deadlines, and status of any deadline extensions

States Parties Original deadline Extension period Deadline Status
  1 March 2013 10 years 1 March 2023 Not on track

Mine action experienced a severe reduction in funding in 2015, negatively affecting land release results. Inadequate funding was cited as a challenge to achieving the Article 5 implementation deadline in Afghanistan.

In Afghanistan, the amount of land released in 2015 almost halved from the previous year, due to the downturn in funding.[4][5]

There was new contamination in 2015 and/or 2016 in Afghanistan. In 2015 and 2016, conflict affected land release operations in nine States Parties including Afghanistan. In 2015, eight personnel from the Mine Action Program of Afghanistan (MAPA) were killed and 34 injured in security incidents, and 63 were abducted and then released.[6]

Afghanistan received the largest amount of funding for mine action globally in 2015 ($52.6 million), from the largest number of donors (17).

Casualties

Afghanistan continued to record the highest number of casualties in 2015, although the annual total for the country remained almost the same, with just 14 casualties more than the number reported in 2014. All recorded casualties were civilians, including deminers.

In 2015 some three-quarters (74%, or 4,755) of all mine/ERW casualties recorded for 2015 occurred in five states, all of which are conflict-affected, including Afghanistan, as well as states Ukraine, Yemen, Syria and Libya.

Casualties in 2015

Row Labels Casualties
Injured 778
Killed 532
Grand Total 1310
Device Casualties
Antipersonnel Mine 13
Antivehicle Mine 10
Cluster Submunition 4
Other ERW 229
Victim-Activated IED 1054
Total 1310
Age group Casualties
Adult 862
Child 447
Unknown 1
Total 1310

Children as a percentage of civilian casualties for which the age was known

For Afghanistan UNAMA categorizes IEDs by the basic method used to initiate detonation, including victim-activated IEDs, remote control/radio/command-operated IEDs, and suicide IEDs. The most common victim-activated IEDs in Afghanistan are pressure plate IEDs, which are improvised landmines.

Victim assistance

The national bodies in charge of coordinating victim assistance collaborated with those in charge of coordinating disability rights.

A new National Disability Action Plan for Afghanistan remained pending, but was under development.

A lack of funding was reported to have reduced services in Afghanistan.

Summary victim assistance action points based on findings

  • Develop, adopt, and implement a national disability plan that includes objectives that respond to the needs of survivors and recognizes its victim assistance obligations and commitments, together with a monitoring structure.
  • Expand access to physical rehabilitation needs, particularly in Bamyan and provinces lacking services or where traveling to receive rehabilitation is difficult for survivors.
  • Ensure that meaningful participation of survivors is increased at all levels.
  • Prioritize physical accessibility, particularly for services and for government buildings.
  • Provide psychosocial and psychological support, including peer support in particular to new survivors as well as those who have been traumatized and live in isolation.