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Afghanistan

FSD has been working in Afghanistan for more than 20 years. The organisation has several demining, risk education and mine victim assistance teams.

Explosive ordnance risk education for children in Afghanistan

In areas of the isolated province of Badakhshan, FSD-teams educate the population on recognition of hazardous devices and how to react appropriately to avoid accidents. (Afghanistan, 2022)

Afghanistan

Context

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.

Said Omar

School Director in the Darwaz region

Said-Omar
Afghanistan

Mine clearance

FSD deminers locate and destroy anti-personnel mines and explosive ordnance, remnants of the Soviet occupation. FSD deminers have so far cleared some 3.5 million square metres of former battlefields and minefields. This involved neutralising more than 44 000 explosive devices.

Two deminers on the mine clearance line in Afghanistan
AFGHANISTAN

Risk education

In areas not yet cleared, FSD teams teach the population how to recognise dangerous devices and how to react if they come across such items to avoid incidents. Cattle herders and children are among the most vulnerable groups.

More than 100 000 Afghans have learnt through educational sessions in villages, schools and pastures about the risks of explosive ordnance.

A group of Afghan men educated about mine dangers
AFGHANISTAN

Mine victim assistance

Since 2018, FSD has worked alongside local communities to evaluate the needs of survivors of mine accidents to provide them with appropriate support. The aim is to enable the survivors to contribute to their families’ needs as well as to reintegrate into society and resume economic activity. Punctually, FSD also provided logistic support so that 21 mine victims could attend prosthetics fittings at a hospital operated by the International Committee of the Red Cross in Faizabad.

Around 100 victims have already benefited from FSD’s support and in 2022 more than 400 mine victims had their needs assessed.

Mine accident survivor, Afghanistan
Timeline

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.

Stories

News from Afghanistan

Survivor of an accidental antipersonnal mine explosion, Rahmi

Beehives as a second chance

After a mine accident, Rahmi Ali had to give up farming, his only source of income. Thanks to the support of the FSD, he has become a beekeeper and can once again provide for his family.

Equipment test

🧐 DEMINER CHECK-LIST

Regular equipment checks are a crucial daily step prior to demining that ensures the safety of our teams on the ground. Deminers check that their detectors are working properly by testing them on a small piece of metal.

Explosive ordnance risk education for children in Afghanistan

Prevention = lives saved

Afghanistan is one of the countries with the highest number of mine victims in the world. According to the Landmine Monitor, more than 17,000 mine casualties […]

CENTIMETRE after CENTIMETRE

In 2022, our Afghan teams cleared more than 200’000 m2 of terrain and located over 2,000 explosive devices and items of abandoned ammunition.

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Iraqi deminer trained to the use of a detector