De-mining the War Zones: Slow, Steady Progress in Afghanistan and Vieetnam

January 9th, 2007 - by admin

Xinhua News Agency & the US State Department – 2007-01-09 23:17:10

De-mining Agency Sweeps Out 17 Percent of
Mine-fested Lands in Afghanistan

Xinhua News Agency via COMTEX

KABUL (January 9, 2007) — A leading de-mining agency, the Mine Action Program for Afghanistan (MAPA), had cleared 17 percent of contaminated lands throughout the war-ravaged Afghanistan last year, a report released by the agency said Tuesday.

“The current data shows that the MAPA cleared more than 126 million square meters of contaminated land from January through November 2006. This represents more than 17 percent of all the contaminated land thought to exist in Afghanistan,” the report added.

The aim of the project, the report said, is to see an Afghanistan free from the threat of mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO).
With having 8,000 employees across the post-Taliban nation, the MAPA had destroyed 12,877 anti-personnel mines, 476 anti-tank mines and more than 700,000 pieces of UXO in 2006.

MAPA’s clearance and mine risk education efforts have resulted in a 55 percent decrease in the number of Afghans killed or injured by mines or UXO to about 60 per month during 2006 from an average of 138 Afghans just five years ago.

Clearing mines and UXO is important for Afghanistan, which needs reconstruction to revive its national institutions.
The MAPA has also been sweeping out mines and UXO from a corridor stretching from Kabul to Uzbekistan that will be the site of a major power line which will bring electricity to the Kabul city and neighboring areas, the report said.

Millions of mines had been planted by the troops of former Soviet Union and Afghan factions over the past three decades of war and civil strife and their clearance according to experts would take several years to come.


More Equipment to Clear Landmines and
Unexploded Ordnance in Vietnam

Office of the Spokesman [sic] / US State Department

WASHINGTON, DC (January 9, 2007) — As part of the US commitment to strengthen US-Vietnamese relations, the Department of State recently provided nearly $1 million worth of state-of-the-art equipment to Vietnam to help clear unexploded ordnance and landmines left there from past conflicts.

Since joining the US Humanitarian Mine Action Program in 2000, Vietnam has received more than $37 million in US assistance for demining, mine risk education, survivors assistance, an ongoing Landmine Impact Survey, and demining equipment.

This latest lot of equipment was provided by the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the US Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, and turned over by the US Embassy in Hanoi to the Vietnamese Army Engineer Command’s Technology Center for Bomb and Mine Disposal (BOMICEN).

It included mine detectors, bomb locaters, spare parts, personal protective equipment, explosive ordnance disposal suits, and medical trauma kits to treat any Vietnamese deminers injured during the course of clearance. See related photos at

The equipment will enable Vietnam to increase its national capacity to clear landmines and unexploded ordnance and some will also be used by Vietnamese explosive ordnance disposal teams which are supporting the Landmine Impact Survey in selected provinces in Central Vietnam that are severely affected by landmines and explosive remnants of war.

This multi-million dollar survey, managed by the Veterans for America (formerly Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation) in partnership with the Vietnamese government, is also funded by the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement.

To learn more about United States humanitarian mine action assistance to Vietnam and elsewhere in Southeast Asia and around the world, refer to the Sixth Edition of “To Walk the Earth in Safety,” the annual report of the inter-agency US Humanitarian Mine Action Program, at