July 22, 2008

More Than 6.5 Million Square Meters Land of Afghanistan Cleaned Up From Explosive Devices: Officials

More than 6.5 million square meters land of Afghanistan cleaned up from explosive devices: officials

KABUL, July 21 (Xinhua) -- The UN-backed de-mining agency Mine Action Program for Afghanistan (MAPA) has cleaned up more than 6.5 million square meters of land from explosive devices over the past six months in Afghanistan, director of the agency Haider Reza said Monday.

"In the past six months from January to June 2008 MAPA has cleared 65,361,363 square meters land from explosive devices and ordinances," Reza told reporters at a press conference.

The devices have been discovered and defused, he added, including 38,297 anti-personnel mines, 419 anti-tank mines and 957, 362 explosive remnants of war.

Hailing it as a great achievement, Reza stressed that the number of mine victims had decreased to 24 in June throughout the country.

The territory has been cleared from mines and explosive devices include villages, roads, agricultural fields, pastures and power lines, he further said.

During the course more than 760,000 people including men, women and children have also received mine risk education.

Mines had killed or maimed more than 60 people every month in the past in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan, as one of the most mine contaminated countries, still needs more years to be cleaned up from mines and explosive devices.

The ordinances left from the past wars still threaten the lives of more than four million Afghans, the official said.

Afghanistan, a signatory to Ottawa Convention, is committed to clearing all minefields in the country by 2013, Reza emphasized.

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