Since 1989, about 46,868 Afghan civilians have been recorded to have been killed or injured by landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW). Before August 2021, the average number of casualties was about 160 people per month. Since August 2021, the reporting pipelines for casualties have been disrupted, and only 188 new casualties have been reported during 2022 compared to 1,144 for the previous year. Improvised mines (IM) and ERW from armed clashes caused over 98 percent of the casualties recorded in 2021. In the same year, more than 79 percent of the ERW casualties were children.
Humanitarian mine action partners in Afghanistan have cleared more than 13 million items of ERW, some 759,245 anti-personnel (AP) mines, and some 33,045 anti-vehicle (AV) mines since 1989. A total of 27,833 hazardous areas - have been cleared or otherwise canceled since 1989. This represents over 3,011 square kilometers of land released for productive use to 3,444 communities.
Some 3,590 identified hazards remain, threatening about 1,742 communities, impeding safe movement of civilians and humanitarians, reducing safe access to socio-economic opportunities and impeding development. Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE) has reached over 22.4 million beneficiaries since the start of the program.
The Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan (MAPA) was established in 1989. In 2012, the Afghan Directorate for Mine Action Coordination (DMAC) began to execute aspects of the programme management of the MAPA in direct collaboration with UNMAS and obtained ownership on 1 June 2018 after progressive transition when DMAC absorbed all Afghan technical mine action personnel previously employed by UNMAS. At the request of the former Afghan Government, UNMAS stayed to provide continued technical support in areas such as strategic planning and advocacy, resource mobilization, and funds management and contracting, until 14 August 2021.
Since the Taliban assumed control on 15 August 2021, DMAC could no longer carry out day-to-day mine action coordination functions due to the withdrawal of international financial support. Considering the critical coordination gap, at the request of MAPA stakeholders and the approval of the United Nations senior leadership in Afghanistan, UNMAS established an interim humanitarian mine action coordination center that is led by the UN and is independent from the de facto authorities.
The UN Security Council Resolution 2626 (2022) adopted on 17 March 2022 mandates the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), in the para 5 (j), to “support, within its mandate, existing mechanisms to improve the overall security situation in Afghanistan, provide assessments of the explosive ordnance threat and its impact on civilians, including children, advise and coordinate explosive ordnance threat mitigation measures in support of humanitarian and development initiatives, support the coordination of the humanitarian mine action sector, and support regional and international efforts to prevent and address the illicit trade in and destabilizing accumulation of small arms and light weapons and their diversion in Afghanistan and the region”. This part of the UNAMA mandate is expected to be implemented by UNMAS Afghanistan, and integration of UNMAS Afghanistan into UNAMA has been initiated.
In August 2022, UNMAS and DMAC agreed on the name of the humanitarian mine action coordination center to be the Humanitarian Mine Action Coordination Support Centre (HMACSC).
In line with the changed operational context and mine action role in UNAMA, UNMAS Afghanistan renewed its Programme Strategy for the implementation of the Mission mandate and is in alignment with the UNAMA strategy.
Contribution to the creation of peace and stability in Afghanistan
UNMAS provides explosive ordnance threat assessment to UNAMA including developing and sharing information management products; advises and coordinates mitigating measures - such as survey and clearance, explosive ordnance disposal, and risk education that are bilaterally funded by donors to humanitarian mine action organizations - against explosive ordnance threat; and provides technical advice and assessment that supports existing efforts to prevent and address the illicit trade in and destabilizing accumulation of small arms and light weapons and their diversion in Afghanistan and the region, as a Mission component.
Contribution to economic and social conditions for stability
UNMAS supports the coordination of the humanitarian mine action sector, including continuing seeking means to operate HMACSC. In 2022, the coordination center successfully carried out essential coordination functions including planning and prioritization, quality management, and information management, which backstopped impactful humanitarian mine action operations in the country, ensured humanitarian prioritization of mine action, and facilitated overall humanitarian response. Despite success, the fragile political support from the de facto DMAC and the unstable funding support from the international community resulted in its operational intermittence throughout the year.
Concurrently, UNMAS continued advocacy efforts for the importance of continuous support to mine action activities in particular through bilaterally funding, ensuring that mine action needs are well represented under multiple UN documents and engagement platforms. UNMAS as the lead of the Mine Action Sub-Cluster (MASC) in the country under the Mine Action Area of Responsibility (MA AoR) of the Global Protection Cluster, collaborated closely with other UN agencies and humanitarian organizations in the areas of planning, prioritization, information sharing, and operations, to support humanitarian delivery and access to essential services with a greater synergy.
Starting from November 2022, UNMAS receives funding support from UNAMA as a Mission component, in addition to receiving voluntary contributions from institutional donors. UNMAS thanks the following donors for their generous support in 2022: Australia, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Sweden, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
UNMAS also thanks the following donors for continued bilateral support to the MAPA: The United States of America, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), Japan, Finland, Denmark, Norway, New Zealand, Afghanistan, PATRIP, Ireland, OCHA, and Slovenia.
Data as of December 2022