Unexploded NATO bombs kill Afghan civilians

This video says about itself:

Jun 13, 2012

Unexploded munitions a dangerous legacy of war in Afghanistan

(CNN) — The sounds of battle echo across a desolate stretch of land just east of Bagram Air Base, America’s biggest base in Afghanistan. As it turns out, it’s just battle practice.

“Training exercises on our big weapons to include our small arms,” explains Sergeant 1st Class Steve Cunningham, of the 381st Military Police Unit. “Just put some ammo down range. The Afghan people let us do this to make sure our weapons stay functional for future missions.”

He says rehearsals like this help his troops keep their skills sharp, adding that they’re skills U.S. troops need to keep Afghans safe.

But villagers living around the East River Range couldn’t disagree more — they argue U.S. military exercises here are putting them in danger.

From AFP news agency:

Unexploded NATO ordnance killing Afghan civilians

July 21, 2013, 11:09 pm

KABUL – Unexploded ordnance left behind by NATO troops as they leave Afghanistan is killing and injuring a rising number of civilians, a UN demining group said Sunday.

Mohammad Sediq Rashid, director of the Mine Action Coordination Centre, told AFP the US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) must fully clean up military bases and firing ranges being vacated ahead of a final withdrawal due next year.

A total of 53 Afghan civilians, mostly children, have been killed or injured by unexploded ordnance found in or around ISAF bases and firing ranges since 2008, he said.

The 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, signed by most ISAF contributing nations, requires militaries to remove all unexploded ordnance from areas they vacate.

All ordnance, including those left by Soviet troops and mujahideen, caused 363 civilian casualties in 2012 compared to more than 240 between January and June 2013: a rise from an average of 30 a month to 40 a month so far this year, Rashid said.

“We believe if this problem is not sorted out, the casualty rate is very highly likely to increase because there are many people looking for unexploded ordnance to be sold as scrap metal,” he told AFP.

“I think the main reason (for this increase) is because of these firing ranges,” he said. “The evidence suggests there is a problem, this job is not being done properly,” he added.

He said weaponry left behind included unexploded mortars and grenades.

In January, three civilians were killed and five injured in a village in Kohi Safi district of Parwan province, adjacent to the largest US-run base Bagram, Rashid said.

His team found more than 400 items of unexploded ordnance in the area, where a military base had been abandoned and there was also a firing range nearby, he said.

In February, two teenage boys were seriously injured in Bamyan province.

“We deployed another team there and so far half of the job is done, more than 500 items unexploded ordnance were found, most of them munitions that belong to ISAF,” Rashid said.

“We think this is a major issue. There are hundreds of military bases… a considerable number of them will be closed, some of them will be handed over to local forces and some will be abandoned, so we think the casualties will increase,” he added.

ISAF told AFP in an emailed response to the accusations that “the safety of civilians is one of our highest priorities”.

But Rashid said the military was not doing enough.

“We want ISAF to pay attention to this. They are spending huge amounts of money and resources in this country. Why they are not paying attention to this issue?” he said.

Departing troops are leaving behind an explosive mess in Afghanistan: here.

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21 thoughts on “Unexploded NATO bombs kill Afghan civilians

    • One of the related articles links mentions unexploded ammunition, still in Canada now, left over from World War II extercises.

      However, as the article mentions, there is an international treaty that departing armies are required to take unexploded devices back with them.


      • I once worked with a Hungarian fellow who told me the following story. He and his friends, as young men are wont to do, collected all the unexploded WWII ammunition that that they could find. They dumped it down a well and when it was full they set off the explosion of all expolosions. Luckily no one was hurt. However, several young boys spent a few days in the local lock-up answering quite pointed questions from the local police.
        Take care.


  1. This ordnance debris seems to litter the world. Not content with killing people the first time around, it has been left to put subsequent generations at risk. In Kenya during the 1950s, when the British Air Force were bombing the freedom fighters in the Aberdares mountain forests, all it did at the time was make elephants and rhinos crazy. But the unexploded shells are still found where people have cleared the forest to farm. Also today in northern Kenya where British forces still go to practice warfare, their unexploded missiles often put the local pastoralists at risk.


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