"This is a civilian area and they have killed four of the guards of this building," said Dr Shah Wali - an official for the group which runs de mining in one the world's most heavily mined countries.
The ATC is the main organization in Afghanistan responsible for removing landmines and unexploded ordinance -- dangerous reminders of years of war.
An international team of researchers supported by UNICEF and other organizations studied the social costs of landmines in Afghanistan in 1995. Their results?
- One household in 20 reported a land mine victim, a third of these dying in the blast. In Afghanistan, one adult male in every ten had been involved in a mine episode.
- Without mines, agricultural production could increase by 88-200% in Afghanistan.
- Households with a land mine victim were 40% more likely to have difficulty providing food for the family.
In November 1996, Agence France Presse reported that up to one person an hour is killed by landmines and shells in battered Kabul. Still more worrying is that children are the main victims of mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) -- shells, rockets, bombs and bullets that have been fired but not yet detonated -- which cause horrifying injuries if they fail to kill, the US-based aid agency Save the Children added here. According to one survey, about 30% of mine victims in Afghanistan are children, most of whom die due to lack of medical facilities.
I wonder how many of the mines and how much of the unexploded ordinance is from the US? Seems hard to believe that we let these people fight our war against the Soviets for us, then let them suffer for nearly twenty years, as they tried to rebuild their country in the middle of a war zone... a minefield. These Afghanis were our Freedom Fighters, armed with our Patriots... and every other weapon we could give them.
With an average life expectancy of about 40 years and a staggering mortality rate of nearly 26 per cent for children under five years of age, Afghanistan ranks among the most destitute, war-weary countries in the world, according to figures released yesterday by the United Nations Development Programme.
70 per cent of the Afghan population was estimated to be under-nourished, and only 13 per cent have access to improved water sources.
And we knocked out all the power in Kabul, too...
The UN are unable to supply the Afghanis with emergency food and supplies, and report a huge humanitarian disaster looming. They will need food and supplies for over 8.5 million people, over a third of the country.
So far, Washington has fired 55 cruise missiles at Taliban targets -- at about $1 million apiece, the cost of the missiles approaches the Taliban's $90 million budget for last year. Maybe, under the circumstances, we would be better off bombing them with dollar bills instead.