FSD has been working in Afghanistan for more than 20 years. The organisation has several demining, risk education and mine victim assistance teams.
Afghanistan is one of the countries most contaminated by mines and explosive remnants of war, a legacy of nearly four decades of armed conflict.
The country’s remote northeastern region of Badakhshan represents 15% of the contaminated territory. FSD operates in an area where many mine accidents occur. It is a region isolated from the rest of the country by a mountain range with limited access to international aid.
Often involved in accidents: “butterfly” mines, are well-known small green plastic devices that were dropped by Soviet helicopters during the conflict in the 1980s.
More than one million butterfly mines reportedly remain in the country.
The Taliban takeover in 2021 has further hampered humanitarian activities due to interruptions in funding, complications during border crossing closures and the prohibition of the delivery of risk education to women and girls over the age of twelve.
Some children have no option but to cross mined areas to reach school.
School Director in the Darwaz region
FSD in Afghanistan
In 2001, FSD participated in the clearance of mines from Kandahar Province in the southeast of the country. This was mandated by the World Food Programme and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
About ten years later, a second demining project was implemented in Badakhshan Province, in the northeast of the country, close to the border with Tajikistan. The project included demining and risk education activities.
Due to restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic and the change of government in Afghanistan in 2021, several changes had to be made. A new operational base was set up in Kunduz, making it possible to deploy additional demining teams in the region and the neighbouring province of Balkh.
Year after year, FSD teams have seen that many mine victims live in dire socio-economic circumstances and receive no assistance. Following a private donation appeal, a programme to support these victims was put in place in 2019. This appeal proved to be essential for the continuity of this project since, following the change in government in 2021, several major donors suspended funding.
FSD carries out its activities in Afghanistan with the support of the U.S. Department of State, PATRIP, GGL Austria and other private donors.
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