The Face of Afghanistan (11) - The Land of Mines

For ten Afghans, of which many are children, tomorrow will be the last day they can walk on their legs. It will happen with no warning sign, while they are walking in the fields, perhaps on their way to work or to school. One third of them will die in those circum-stances.

Over seven thousand Afghans were killed or wounded by landmines between 1998 and 2003. Afghanistan is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world. About 10 million landmines were still in place as of the be-ginning of 2005. In addition, millions of other explosive devices, such as rockets and grenades, litter the country. In 2003 about 60% of the rural population around Kabul lived in proximity of unexploded bombs.

Estimates put the number of disabled people at around 4% of the population – approximately 1 million people. No wonder that Kabul is full of legless beggars dragging their stumps on the dusty pavements.

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