Unexploded Munitions a Peril as NATO Ends Afghan War

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  • The end of NATO’s combat mission in Afghanistan could be a watershed moment in tackling unexploded ordnance littering the country
  • But experts complain U.S.-led forces need to hand over more information on where all it is.
  • Decades of conflict since the Soviet invasion in 1979 have left landmines, shells, bombs and rockets scattered across towns, villages and fields, even after extensive clearance efforts that have removed millions of items.
  • All sides involved in the prolonged fighting have been responsible for UXO (unexploded ordnance), with children most at risk because they often play in unmarked minefields.
  • At the start of this year, NATO’s International Security Assistance Force was replaced by the U.S.-led ‘Resolute Support’
  • Resolute Support is a training and support mission that signals a key stage of the withdrawal of foreign troops who arrived in 2001.
  • Mohammad Sediq Rashid, director of the Mine Action Coordination Centre for Afghanistan, said :They used weapons and they know that unexploded ordnance will be left behind. This information is life-saving.
  • According to the United Nations’ 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, all parties must help to clear unexploded munitions after hostilities cease.