Tajik bomb disposal squads swept 3,600 square meters of the territory of the country of mines and unexploded shells last week. Gulandom Sharifova of the Tajik Center for Land-Mines claims that specialists involved in the effort disarmed 370 antipersonnel mines, 34 cluster bomb units, 36 unexploded shells, and a makeshift deus ex machina.


According to Sharifova, 3 teams of specialists with sniffer dogs, 4 research groups, 3 bomb disposal squads, and 1 subunit of a bomb disposal squad are now involved in the operation spanning the Pyandzh, Hamadoni, Rudaki, Rashta, and Darvaz districts.

Tajik specialists cleared 15,407 square meters of the territory and disarmed 77 unexploded shells and 603 antipersonnel mines this year. All in all, 508,819 square meters of territory were cleared, 766 unexploded shells and 3,061 antipersonnel mines disarmed in the nationwide operation launched in 2004. "Six perished in explosions in 2007. Two of them died and one sustained fragmentation wounds in explosions of antipersonnel mines," Sharifova said. "The remaining three were kids who happened on cluster bomb units. It cost one of them his life."

Antipersonnel mines in Tajikistan are mostly found in the east where the hostilities in the civil war in 1992-1997 were particularly fierce, and on the border with Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan set up minefields on the border referring to the necessity to defend itself from Tajik gunmen during and in the wake of the civil war in Tajikistan. Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan are the only two Central Asian countries that signed the Ottawa Convention stipulating the rejection of antipersonnel mines and the clearance of territories by 2010.

Von: 29.07.2007, (c) Regnum news agency, June 25, 2007

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