Iran seen as main supplier of land mines to Afghanistan

PESHAWAR (PPI) - Iran is the second top contributor of the destruction of the war-ravaged Afghanistan and the main supplier of land-mines to the various warning factions after the Russian troops withdrawal. Iran is responsible for the killing and maiming of thousands of Afghans, disclosed a worker of a demining agency in Kabul adding Tehran had supplied heavy weapons and land-mines to the Shia Hezb-I-Wahdat.
"The Hezb-e-Wahdat used these weapons and land-mines against the forces loyal to former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani and his strongman Ahamd Shah Masood before the emergence of the Taliban," the aid worker said on the condition of anonymity.
Northern parts of Kabul were the stronghold of the Hezb-I-Wahdat and when Masood forces forced the Shias our the Afghan capital, they planted land-mines all along the area, he said.
He maintained that when the Taliban had been knocking at the doors of Kabul, Iran readjusted its policy and joined hands with her former rival Masood to keep the Taliban of the capital. Fearing the Taliban, Iran extended all-out support to the southern parts of Kabul wherefrom the religious militia was making advances, the aid worker said.
He said at least 20 innocent people had been killed by these land-mines only in Chehelsatoon area where agency was still working to clear mines.
Other countries, which the work believed where responsible for the uncleared 10 million anti-tank and anti-personnel land-mines across Afghanistan, include Russia, China, Italy and Pakistan, saying Russia had 80 per cent share in the total land-mines, while Pakistani land-mines came through ‘mujahideen’ during the Soviet occupation.
Most of the area around Kabul has been cleared by the demining agencies, but there still remained some high priority areas to be cleared. The demining agencies are using trained dogs and metal detectors to find land-mines. Dogs are comparatively more effective as the detectors are time-consuming and also involved life risk for the workers.

The Frontier Post, September 12,1997

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