Anti-personnel mine & ammunition stockpile destruction (AFGHANISTAN)


In July 2005, a nationwide project for the destruction of anti-personnel mines and ammunition was launched when the Government of Afghanistan and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) signed an Agreement on Anti-Personnel Mine & Ammunition Stockpile Destruction. In line with this 2-year project, ammunition deemed safe to be moved will be transported to secure storage facilities while the remainder will be destroyed. All mines will be destroyed.


(12.08.2006)

This project is assisting the Government of Afghanistan in meeting its anti-personnel mines stockpile destruction obligations as a State Party to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, also known as the Ottawa Convention. By signing the convention on 1 March 2003, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan committed to establish a complete ban on anti-personnel mines within four years, with all stockpiles to be destroyed by 28 February 2007. The Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs will keep the Ministry of Defence abreast of Ottawa Convention obligations, including the need to report on destruction of anti-personnel mines.

Donors

The total cost of the operational two year project is US $16 million.

-The Canadian Government (US $5.1 million)
-The United Kingdom (US $3 million)
-The European Commission (US $1.8 million)
-The Ministry of Finance (US $0.5 million) and
- UNDP (US $0.5 million)

are the key donors along with commitments from the Netherlands and Norway. This project has also received in-kind support from the US State Department's Explosive Remnant of War (ERW) Programme.

When was this project initiated?

On 23 December 2004, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) and the Afghanistan's New Beginnings Programme (ANBP) signed an agreement to carry out an ammunition survey throughout the country.

The ammunition survey as a pilot project began the first week of January in Mazar-e Sharif and Herat. The survey was to determine:

- Where current ammunition stockpiles exist and quantity

- Whether the ammunition is useable and stored in a secure site

- Whether useable ammunition needs to be transported to a safe and secure area.

How does the current programme on anti-personnel mines and ammunition work?

There are a total of 9 Ammunition Survey Teams operating in all the regions of the country. They are supported by an implementing partner either HALO Trust or UXB to provide technical support. In addition, two MoD officers are embedded with each team to assist in surveying and reviewing new caches.

Who does oversee the programme?

The Ministry of Defence, representing the Government of Afghanistan, is ultimately responsible for leading the anti-personnel landmine and ammunition stockpile destruction project towards a successful conclusion. In support, the UNDP Country Office, through ANBP will be accountable for project management and administrative activities related to the implementation of the initiative, including project reporting and sustaining resources utilized.

What is the extent of the problem?

It is estimated that up to 100,000 tons of legal or illegal munitions are either intentionally or unintentionally littering Afghanistan outside the government control. Much of the abandoned munitions, which has generally not been maintained, is lying in unguarded locations or stored in populated areas. This has led to terrible tragedies, as occurred in Baghlan province last spring in May 2004 when the explosion of an ammunition cache located within a house in the village of Bajgah resulted in 28 dead and 70 injured. This surplus ammunition presents the Government with considerable logistic and safety problems whilst also generating security concerns within Afghan and international circles.

In addition, practical ownership of the ammunition is dubious. Of the ammunition stockpiled, there are many types that are no longer required for the planned weapon systems of the Afghan National Army (ANA). Some of the ammunition found is safe, some is useable, yet much is unsafe and of no further use. With stockpiles amounting to hundreds of thousands of tons, there is justified concerns over the current state of ammunition. If this ammunition is not collected or destroyed it can be used with malicious intent, in Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Its mere presence continues to kill or maim innocent people.


1st January 2005 to August 13th, 2006

1,061 Surveyed Caches of Ammunition Equate to

Total unexploded ammunition MT ,tons: 28,675
Boxed Ammunition: 1,142,990
Loose Ammunition: 7,705,632

Landmines & Ammunition Destroyed

Anti-Personnel (pcs): 189,163
Anti-Tank (pcs): 12,475
Ammunition (MT): 10,071

Are there still victims?

Afghanistan remains one of the most heavily contaminated countries in the world. An average of 60 Afghans are killed or injured by mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) each month and about half of those victims are under the age of 18. A survey by Handicap International indicates that, based on an estimated population of 25 million people, there are almost 50,000 mine and UXO survivors in Afghanistan today, or almost 7 percent of the total number of people with disabilities.

What happens once ordnance is discovered/ surveyed?

Ammunition deemed in good condition and safe to move is transported by ANBP to an Ammunition Consolidation Point (ACP) agreed by the Ministry of Defence. The consolidation of disparate ammunition caches in suitably guarded facilities is intended to facilitate centralized control of stocks of legitimate ammunition types.

All anti-personnel mines found in caches irrespective of its condition are destroyed by the implementing partner and the record is maintained. Ammunition which is clarified as unserviceable by the team based on technical advice of the implementing partner is destroyed at central destruction sites by the implementing partner.

What are ANBP's implementing partners?

ANBP has two implementing partners HALO trust and UXB who have a number of detachments supporting teams in conducting survey, movement and destruction of Ammunition in all the various regions.

Is this destruction project linked with DIAG?

The overall project is intended as a complement to other security sector programmes already in place between key national stakeholders and UN actors. In particular, the effort is strongly linked with a key Afghan initiative, the Disbandment of Illegal Armed Groups (DIAG), which operates in parallel with the Anti-Personnel Mines and Ammunition Stockpile Destruction Programme. DIAG yields stockpiles of mines and ammunition that are handled within this project.

By July 22nd, 2006, 24,182 heavy and light weapons, 20,935 pieces of boxed and 196,840 pieces of unboxed ammunition have been handed over to and verified by ANBP/DIAG collection teams in Afghanistan.

Von: 13.8.06, Afghanistan New Beginnings Program (ANBP) (reliefweb.int)

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