Information to the media: Landmine or improvised explosive device?

Recently, media have cited landmines rather than improvised explosive devices (IEDs) as the cause of certain incidents that have resulted in death or injury. The misuse of terminology leads to confusion and, at its worst, incorrect reporting.


Normally, landmines are identified as standard factory-made items with a built-in fuzing system that is usually pressure-activated; while IEDs are defined as improvised explosive devices using a homemade external fuzing system to detonate a landmine or other type of explosive. Generally, landmines cannot be remotely controlled, unless their fuzing system is altered.
Landmines were used extensively throughout Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation and the civil war. Innocent Afghans continue to tread on the hidden killers to this day and cause unintentional explosions that result in the loss of life or limb. Unlike landmines left over from past conflicts, IEDs are a recent phenomenon. Individuals place IEDs with the immediate intent of injuring and killing and with the overall goal of disrupting Afghanistan's present situation.
In a heavily impacted country like Afghanistan, it is of high importance to use the correct terminology and accurately convey the situation. Incorrect terminology undermines the hard work of the 8,500 Afghans dedicated to demining Afghanistan and blurs the lines between past battles and current, deadly attacks.
The United Nations Mine Action Center for Afghanistan (UNMACA), on behalf of the Mine Action Programme for Afghanistan (MAPA), thanks the media for its continuous and kind support to mine action and requests all organizations to avoid using improper terminology when identifying or describing recent attacks.
The MAPA, an umbrella organization comprised of implementing partners that are coordinated by UNMACA, has cleared more than one billion square meters throughout Afghanistan since 1989 ' destroying more than 327,000 anti-personnel mines, more than 18,500 anti-tank mines and almost seven million pieces of unexploded ordnance. Afghanistan became a State Party to the Ottawa Convention in March 2003 and committed to clearing all .minefields in the country by 2013.


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