Taliban Kidnap Deminers

Deminers are courageous folks who do the dangerous work of clearing the many minefields left by the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and the Iranian’s constant feed of mines to the Taliban and other insurgent groups. (They don’t seem to care who, as long as their neighbor states are weakened and diminished.) The Deminers are doing good work since it’s a rare month when you don’t read of a child or civilian killed by the left-over mines.

Despite that, the Taliban has mounted a campaign to deter mine-clearing, perhaps because the Deminers also find their IEDs. Afgha.com report:

Taliban militants attacked a camp occupied by Afghan deminers and abducted 18 of them, according to a Xinhua news report.

Three dogs and three vehicles were also snatched during the raid.

The [ed: attack on the] camp, nestled in Ghazni’s volatile Andar district, is a Taliban ‘show of force’ in the face of a massive Afghan security crackdown in Ghazni province.

The deminers continue in defiance of the Taliban, in spite of two previous attacks.
From the Deminers Press Release:

Despite these repeated attacks against deminers, the Mine Action Programme for Afghanistan (MAPA) does not intent to stop its activities in any part of the country; the Programme never ceased its activities even during the wars period. The MAPA is a civilian programme working for the civilians.

“Supporting mine action means supporting Afghanistan, it means supporting the rehabilitation of the economic sector and the reconstruction of communities, it means supporting the refugees returning to their homeland” said Eng. Shohab Hakimi, the Director of the Mine Detection Dog Center (MDC), one of the five national NGOs working in the MAPA. “After this umpteenth attack we do not intent to stop activities, not even in the South, however I would like to remind everyone that a deminer without transportation or without its demining kit more than 700 square meters of land not cleared in a month: houses, farming land or pastureland that remains contaminated. Therefore, I would like to see our communities stand behind the deminers, protect them and support them.”

“The MAPA extends its heartfelt thanks to the deminers for their unwavering courage, sacrifice and commitment to their country.” said Mohammad Sediq, the Chief of Operations of the United Nations Mine Action Center for Afghanistan (UNMACA), which oversees mine action on behalf of the Government of Afghanistan, “Deminers are heroes who risk their lives each day to save innocent lives and free Afghanistan of landmines and unexploded ordnance to return the cleared land back to their countrymen. They should be praised for their hard work and not attacked.”

This report from 1998 shows you just how many mines were left by the Soviets and Afghan Warlords, almost ten years later people are still trying to clear them all.