In keeping with its now 16-year effort to assist Afghanistan, one of the most heavily mined countries in the world, the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs provided $25,000 to Afghan Technical Consultants (ATC) to demine four minefields in Bamyan and Parvan provinces in 2008 and will provide $6,000 to Afghan Disabled and Vulnerable Society (ADVS) to implement a community-based initiativeto support economic development for persons with disabilities and women-headed households in Kabul’s neighboring Laghman Province.
From September to November 2008, ATC removed and destroyed anti-personnel landmines in four villages as part of a $25,000 grant provided by PM/WRA in partnership with the San Francisco-based nongovernmental organization Roots of Peace which raised complementary funding to rebuild schools. The clearance activities in these villages have enabled 700 families to return to their homes and carry out daily routines, including children attending school.
As part of a broader victim assistance outreach commitment to rural Afghan populations, PM/WRA has partnered with the ADVS to donate 18 goats and provide training in dairy production and animal husbandry techniques to victims of landmines and other explosive remnants of war. Through goat raising and improved milk production, the participants of the project – 18 persons with disabilities, including women – are expected to increase household incomes, achieve self-sufficiency, and improve their social standing in society. The project is expected to create a fresh supply of milk and meat that will benefit more than 60 families in surrounding communities.Since 1993, the Department of State has provided more than $95,000,000 in conventional weapons destruction and humanitarian mine action assistance to Afghanistan. This assistance removes explosive hazards that threaten civilian populations, and enables critical reconstruction and development projects central to economic growth, stability, and security. The Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement manages conventional weapons destruction and humanitarian mine action programs (clearance of landmines and explosive remnants of war, survivors assistance, mine risk education) worldwide. To learn more visit www.state.gov/t/pm/wra.