The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has said that at least 640 children were killed or injured in 541 incidents involving explosive remnants of war and landmine explosions in Afghanistan between January 2022 and June 2023.
This figure represents 60% of the 1,092 civilian casualties resulting from these incidents.
In addition, the ICRC emphasized the urgent need for more initiatives to address the problem of weapon contamination and intensify public education campaigns on the risks and perils of landmines and unexploded ordnance.
According to the report, 541 incidents resulted in these children’s deaths. Unexploded bombs and other wartime ordinances continue to threaten Afghan people severely. The report said efforts to remove landmines and other dangerous items were unsuccessful.
“Children have been particularly vulnerable to fatal or life-changing injuries as they unintentionally step on landmines or pick up unexploded ordnance littered around the places they stay, play or do household chores.”
Since the Taliban took control of the country in August 2021 and a series of restrictions on women and girls, many donor states and organizations withdrew their funding. ICRC says that the funding shortfall has affected landmine clearance efforts in the country.
“The dramatic drop in resources and funding had an equally dramatic impact on efforts to clear landmines and unexploded ordnance,” ICRC added.
“There is, however, still a desperate need for the international community to provide technical and financial assistance to reduce the number of human casualties caused by unexploded devices.”
In a recent incident in Samangan Northern province of Afghanistan, at least three children were killed, and two others were injured in a mine explosion.
The unexploded and abandoned ordonnance pose a real threat to people, particularly children and women.
Afghanistan reportedly has one of the worst levels of explosive ordnance contamination globally. In 2023, $18.3 million will be required for a survey, explosive ordnance disposal, and landmine removal, according to the UN.