United Nations and Afghan officials have launched an awareness campaign that plans to educate over six million children about the dangers of landmines, which kill and injure over 60 people (more than half being children) in that country alone each month.
Afghanistan has one of the highest landmine-casualty figures in the world, and most of these mines were actually placed in the country by the United States military. These eventually explosive weapons were designed to not detonate upon ground impact, and can lie undetected for years. Landmines are a particularly dangerous and indiscriminate weapon, as any person (in most cases, a civilian) is liable step on one, even if peace has since been declared in the region.
Landmines can kill anyone who steps on one or is within 50 meters of it; it will also definitely seriously injure those up to 100 meters away. Since 2001, non-governmental organizations have urged U.S. forces to halt the widespread practice of dropping landmines, but once they’ve been dropped, there they remain until detonated or carefully removed.
Sounds like the start of a Stephen King novel, eh?
But in reality, over 70,000 Afghans have been killed by landmines in the past two decades, and now mine-clearing agencies say that children and returning refugees are particularly vulnerable to the threat.
Landmine awareness will now be implemented as a temporary element of the national education curriculum.
It’s encouraging that the government and U.N. are taking “temporary” steps to eliminate deaths and injuries due to this serious existing threat, but the fact remains that even people who are well-aware of all its facets are just as susceptible to this kind of surreptitious risk just as much as the next.
Honestly, land mines are in place all over the Middle East and other parts of the globe– not just Afghanistan. In fact, the terrains of 84 and more countries all over this world are tainted with later-contact-dependent bombs.
I saw a movie a few years ago, it was from Iran, was released in 2004 before it was noticed at all in 2005, and it was called “Turtles Can Fly.” It tells the story of a young boy in a Kurdish refugee camp at the Turkish-Iraq border during the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The boy embarks on an enterprise where he and other children trade in unexploded foot-bombs for cash and other goods. Many of the people (mostly children, including the main character) in the camp are killed or maimed by these mines.
Watch the Trailer: “Turtles Can Fly”
Stop Using Landmines: