The U.S. Department of State is responding to an international funding shortfall for mine action in Afghanistan by providing an additional $5,000,000 to six humanitarian demining groups, including five Afghan non-governmental organizations. This emergency U.S. funding will enable 34 more mine action teams to remove the threat of landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) across Afghanistan. For Fiscal Year 2009, the Department’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs is contributing more than $20,000,000 to mine action and conventional weapons destruction in Afghanistan.
Our implementing partners for mine clearance, Afghan Technical Consultants (ATC), Demining Agency for Afghanistan (DAFA), Mine Clearance Planning Agency (MCPA), Mine Detection Center (MDC), Organization for Mine Clearance and Afghanistan Rehabilitation (OMAR) and The HALO Trust, will receive these additional funds.
The 34 teams feature expertise in both manual and mechanical demining and explosive ordnance disposal and will clear three square kilometers of suspected hazardous areas in 19 communities. Afghan beneficiaries include a cluster of villages in Paktya province, in southeast Afghanistan, where 1,162 families living in the area have suffered 78 mine-related accidents in the last few years. These additional funds, which will ensure more than 650 mine action jobs, will safeguard the population from the threat of landmines and ERW and enable them to return to grazing their livestock and growing crops, thereby improving Afghan livelihoods.
To learn more about the U.S. Conventional Weapons Destruction Program in Afghanistan, visit www.state.gov/t/pm/wra.