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Editorial: Landmine, a silence killer

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Afghanistan is one of the most heavily mined countries in the globe. Landmines pose an ever-present danger to civilians. The use of mines was a daily practice during civil war, but recently Taliban and other militant outfits are also using this weapon as their key element to target security forces. The armed conflict in the country has been planted landmines indiscriminately over most part of the country. And some of it were left from civil war, where grazing areas, agricultural land, irrigation system, residential areas, and roads and footpaths, in both urban and rural areas were contaminated. It is a fact that mines have been a major obstacle toward rehabilitation and development activities of the government and non-government institutions. It is generally estimated that millions of mines are scattered throughout the country, while virtually all combatants in Afghanistan in recent decades are thought to have used mines. Landmines and other unexploded battlefield detritus, commonly known as unexploded ordnance contaminate millions square of land in the country. Despite spending of millions of dollars in mine clearance program in the past decade, still mine blast and unexploded ammunition deemed as big challenge in Afghanistan, as averagely 142 people being killed or sustained injuries monthly across the country. The country is still littered with hazardous explosive devises, meaning that even in areas where conflict has ceased, civilian risk being killed or injured by weapons of war. This weapon (landmines) can truly be called evil. They are known as hidden killers, weapons of mass destruction in slow motion, or the perfect soldier which never sleeps or misses. Civilian with high percentage of women and children were main victim of this silencer killer. Escalation of war and contamination of lands with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and mines by the Taliban insurgents and other terrorist group is the core factor behind increasing of mine victims across the country. Based on official report, 400km square lands have been tainted newly to landmines, IEDs and another type of unexploded devices. Currently 1000km square lands are existed with landmines, which ordinary people are the victim. To defuse landmines, the government and international community have to support demining programs, but however this program has been weakened due to funds cut. $50 million is needed for demining program, but only $35 million has been granted, which shows a reduction by over 50 percent. To safeguard civilians from this deadly menace, the donor countries should support demining drive. The government should also play its part through conducting awareness program for all masses in general and for children in particular that restrain going those areas planted with landmines. Education people, and financial support by donors is the only way to solve mines hazard.