Paghman District clearance nearing completion

The Danish Demining Group’s mine clearance activities in the Paghman District in Afghanistan have resulted in the elimination of the locals’ fear of the deathly risks associated with mines that were contaminating their fields which is beneficial for both them and the development of the local community. The district is now close to being free of mines.

Over the past 13 years, DDG, along with other implementing partners in the Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan, have been working to clear the minefields in the Paghman District, Afghanistan. The completion of the clearance is finally within sight and soon the time will come when this district can officially be declared mine impact free.

A mere 20km west of Kabul city, Paghman District is situated. After the Soviet invasion in 1979 and a range of internal conflicts in Afghanistan, the Paghman District has changed into ruins and large areas have been contaminated with mines and other unexploded ordnances. These minefields were clustered heavily around the villages and towns in the district which has caused a huge threat for the local Afghans who have been using the fields for their livestock.

“Paghman District has suffered disproportionately in terms of civilian mine and UXO casualties, having the third highest casualty figure out of 400 districts in Afghanistan. The near total completion of this district is therefore a fantastic step, made possible by the staunch support of many international donors including the Danish people, and the hard work of numerous agencies within the Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan,” says Abdul Hakim Noorzai, Head of Operation for DDG in Afghanistan.

DDG clearance teams, supported by DANIDA funding, will be working in 2015 on the few remaining minefields in Paghman District. As well as minefield clearance, DANIDA-funded Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams work to respond to ‘hotline’ tasks - in which local people can report items of unexploded ordnance in their homes or fields. The support of the Danish people, channeled via DANIDA, has been instrumental in achieving this vast reduction in the number of minefields and mine casualties in the Paghman District.