KABUL, 10 June 2014 – The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) condemns the killing of eight Afghan de-miners and the wounding of another three in an attack in the country’s central province of Logar today.
“De-miners carry out vital work in Afghanistan – they help make the country safer for their fellow civilians and, as such, any violence which targets them is particularly reprehensible,” said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, Ján Kubiš.
According to reports, the de-miners were working for the Mine Detection Centre (MDS), a non-governmental organization and implementing partner of the UN-supported Mine Action Coordination Centre of Afghanistan (MACCA). While the de-miners carried out clearance work in the Tobakai desert area in Mohammad Agha district in the province’s north, anti-Government elements reportedly detonated an improvised explosive device and then ambushed them, shooting and killing eight and wounding three others.
UNAMA stresses that attacks directed against civilians are serious violations of international humanitarian law which parties to the armed conflict – including all anti-Government elements – must uphold.
The UN Mission extends its condolences to the families of those killed and wishes a speedy recovery for the wounded.
The widespread and indiscriminate use of mines and munitions during more than 30 years of conflict has led to Afghanistan being one of the most heavily mined countries in the world. Despite progress in de-mining efforts, the country still has over 4,500 areas, covering some 521 square kilometres of land, contaminated with mines and explosive remnants of war, according to MACCA.