12 June 2014

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines strongly condemns the attack this week on staff of its member organization in Afghanistan, the Mine Detection Center (MDC), which left eight deminers dead and three injured. The MDC team was attacked on Monday 10 June while undertaking clearance operations in Logar Province.

“It is extremely disturbing to hear of this cruel attack on deminers, the individuals who tirelessly put their lives in danger to save the lives of children, women and other civilians,” said Firoz Alizada, ICBL Campaign Manager.  “The government of Afghanistan should maximize its efforts to ensure the safety of deminers and it should take immediate action to punish the perpetrators of this heinous and deadly attack,” he added.

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MDC Deminer in Action. ©MDC

The Mine Detection Center is a humanitarian demining organization, which has been in operation since 1989 and has conducted mine clearance throughout the country in conjunction with the Mine Action Coordination Centre of Afghanistan (MACCA).

The attack has been widely condemned including by the MACCA and by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

MACCA emphasized that MDC staff are civilians working to remove explosive hazards.

“De-miners carry out vital work in Afghanistan – they help make the country safer for their fellow civilians and, as such, any violence which targets them is particularly reprehensible,” said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, Ján Kubiš.

Afghanistan is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world according to the 2013 Landmine Monitor country profile. At the start of 2013, Afghanistan reported an estimated 270.7km² of territory affected by antipersonnel mines out of total ERW contamination of 558.6km².

The ICBL expresses its condolences to the family members of the eight deminers who were killed and hopes the three deminers who have been injured recover soon. It also expresses solidarity with colleagues at the MDC, the MACCA and with the entire mine action community in Afghanistan.