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Abstract

The Mine Action Programme for Afghanistan (MAPA) was established under the auspices of the United Nations following the Soviet Union's withdrawal from the country in 1989. Originally tasked with helping the Afghans rid themselves of the landmines that the Red Army had laid, the Programme has evolved over time to deal with the mine and UXO contamination caused by the successor conflicts to the 1979–1989 Soviet-Afghan war. This includes the period of the pro-Soviet ruling government (1989–1992), during fighting between various factions from 1992–1995, during the Taliban era, in fighting with resistance forces from 1996 to September 2001, and finally, during military operations by and against the American-led Coalition in October–November 2001 and beyond. At present, Afghanistan has over 872 sq km of suspected mined land and an additional 450 sq km of land thought to be contaminated by UXO, making it one of the most mine- and UXO-affected countries in the world. Up to five people a day are killed or injured by mines and UXO; nearly 25 years after their original deployment, these weapons continue to terrorize the Afghan people and hinder the development process.

 

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