Last Updated: 22 November 2013

Mine Ban Policy

Mine ban policy overview

Mine Ban Treaty status

State Party

National implementation measures

Has not enacted new implementation measures

Transparency reporting

For calendar year 2012


The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty on 11 September 2002, becoming a State Party on 1 March 2003. Afghanistan has not adopted national implementation legislation.[1] In May 2013, Afghanistan informed States Parties that they had “developed a regulation in line with the Article 9” of the convention, “which prohibits the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of mines and cluster munitions in Afghanistan. This regulation is now being reviewed by lawyers in the Ministry of Justice. Once it passes the Ministry of Justice, it will be sent to the Cabinet and then to parliament for their review and approval.”[2]

Afghanistan has submitted 10 Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 reports. Its most recent report covered the period of 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2012.[3]

Afghanistan participated in the Twelfth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in December 2012 in Geneva, where it made interventions on victim assistance, on preventing and suppressing prohibited activities and facilitating compliance, and on stockpile destruction; it also presented its request for an extension on its Article 5 obligations.

Afghanistan participated in the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in May 2013 where it made statements on its efforts to meet its Article 9 obligations and provided an update on its clearance progress since receiving an extension on its Article 5 obligations.

Afghanistan also attended the Bangkok Symposium on Enhancing Cooperation & Assistance in June 2013 in Bangkok.

Afghanistan signed the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) in April 1981, but has never ratified it, and so is not party to the CCW or its protocols on mines and explosive remnants of war.


There have been no reports of antipersonnel mine use by Coalition or Afghan national forces. However, there was a significant increase in the use of victim-activated improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by armed groups in 2012, resulting in a significant increase in casualties to such devices.

Non-state armed groups

There has been extensive use of victim-activated IEDs in Afghanistan by armed groups, mainly the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and Hezb-e-Islami, that oppose the Kabul government and the NATO/International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) forces.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) reported a steep rise in incidents caused by pressure-plate IEDs (PPIEDs) which had been planted on roads routinely used by civilians. However, in the first six months of 2013 UNAMA recorded a decrease in incidents caused by victim-activated IEDs compared to the same time period in 2012. UNAMA stated that the majority of IEDs used in Afghanistan now are victim-activated IEDs, most of which utilize pressure plates.[4]

UNAMA shares the view of Mine Ban Treaty States Parties that victim-activated IEDs are de facto mines; that is, they function as antipersonnel mines. Use of victim-activated IEDs is prohibited by the Mine Ban Treaty because they function like antipersonnel mines, but use of command-detonated IEDs is not banned.

In 2012, UNAMA reported that the majority of PPIEDs are set to detonate when walked on or driven over and frequently contain up to 20kg of explosives, more than twice that of a standard antivehicle mine. As a result of this design and configuration, these explosive weapons “effectively act as a massive antipersonnel landmine with the capability of destroying a tank; civilians who step or drive over these IEDs have no defense against them and little chance of survival. Additionally a significant number of IEDs are encountered with explosive weight of approximately 24kg specifically designed to maim or kill individuals on foot.”[5] Reportedly some PPIEDs use carbon rods instead of metal contacts to make the explosive device difficult to detect. In other cases insurgents use an arming device that allows them to switch on the pressure plate when targets are in the area.[6] UNAMA has called on armed groups in Afghanistan to prohibit their members from using PPIEDs.[7]

In October 2012 on the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan website, the Taliban denied the allegation and said their explosive devices are command-detonated.[8] In some areas, insurgents have advised locals to avoid areas where they have placed IEDs.[9] Throughout 2012 and in the first half of 2013, the Taliban have continued to claim responsibility for an extensive number of attacks against military personnel and vehicles using command-detonated IEDs.[10]

Antipersonnel mines continue to be recovered by Afghan and ISAF forces. A  partial media survey by the Monitor found that 404 antipersonnel mines were reported to have been recovered between June 2012 and July 2013 by Afghan or combined forces.[11]

Production, transfer, stockpile destruction, and discoveries

Afghanistan is not known to have ever produced or exported antipersonnel mines. Throughout many years of armed conflict, large numbers of mines from numerous sources were sent to various fighting forces in Afghanistan. In recent years, there were no confirmed reports of outside supply of antipersonnel mines to non-state armed groups. Afghan security forces capture weapons, including landmines, during their everyday operations.[12] For example, in December 2012 Afghan border police captured a shipment of 360 PMN type antipersonnel mines being smuggled into the country from Pakistan at the main border crossing between Baluchistan and Kandahar provinces.[13]

Afghanistan reported that it completed its stockpile destruction obligation in October 2007,[14] eight months after its treaty-mandated deadline of 1 March 2007.[15] It is unclear how many stockpiled mines Afghanistan had destroyed at the time it declared completion of the program. It reported that it had destroyed 486,226 stockpiled antipersonnel mines as of April 2007, and later reported that it destroyed 81,595 antipersonnel mines in calendar year 2007.[16]

In Afghanistan’s Article 7 report covering calendar year 2012, it reported that mine stockpiles continue to be recovered during military operations,  surrendered during disarmament programs, and discovered by civilians. A total of 2,276 antipersonnel mines were discovered and destroyed during calendar year 2012.[17] Since Afghanistan’s stockpile destruction deadline, it has discovered and destroyed 73,668 antipersonnel mines in previously unknown stockpiles.[18]

Mines retained for training and development

Afghanistan does not retain any mines. It stated in its 2013 Article 7 report that “Afghanistan does not require retention of live mines for its training in mine detection, mine clearance or mine destruction techniques. All mine bodies used in these programmes have had their fuzes removed and destroyed and are no longer capable of being used.”[19] In June 2011, the chief of operations of the Mine Action Coordination Centre of Afghanistan (MACCA) confirmed to the Monitor that Afghanistan does not retain any live mines for training or other purposes.[20] All mines retained by Afghanistan are fuzeless and are used to train mine detection dogs.[21]




[1] In May 2009, Afghanistan repeated from previous Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 reports that “its constitution adopted in January 2005 requires the country to respect all international treaties it has signed. The Ministry of Defense has instructed all military forces to respect the comprehensive ban on antipersonnel mines and the prohibition on use in any situation by militaries or individuals.” Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2008), Form A.

[2] Statement of Afghanistan, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on Article 9: The development and adoption of legislative, administrative and other measures, Geneva, 27 May 2013.

[3] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2012). Previous Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 reports were submitted: in 2012, 2010, and 2009, and on 13 May 2008, 30 April 2007, 1 May 2006, 30 April 2005, 30 April 2004, and 1 September 2003.

[4] In 2012, UNAMA confirmed 298 incidents causing 913 civilian casualties from PPIEDs which had been planted on roads routinely used by civilians. This was an enormous increase from 141 casualties in 2011. However, in the first six months of 2013 UNAMA documented 227 victim-activated IED casualties, a decrease from the same period in 2012. UNAMA, “Afghanistan Annual Report 2012, Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict,” Kabul, February 2013, p. 18,; and UNAMA, “Afghanistan Mid-year Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict: 2013,” Kabul, July 2013, p. 14,

[5] UNAMA, “Afghanistan Annual Report 2012, Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict,” Kabul, February 2013, pp.18–19,

[6] Small Arms Survey, “Small Arms Survey 2013, Chapter 10: Infernal Machines,” pp. 228–229.

[7] UNAMA, “Afghanistan Annual Report 2012, Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict,” Kabul, February 2013, p. 14, In 2011, UNAMA called on the Taliban to publicly reaffirm its 1998 decree banning mine use. See statement of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan on the Problem of Landmines, Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 433–434.

[8] “We clearly want to state that our Mujahideen never place live landmines in any part of the country but each mine is controlled by a remote and detonated on military targets only.” “Reaction of Islamic Emirate regarding accusations of UNAMA about explosive devices,” 22 October 2012,, accessed 16 August 2013.

[9] Small Arms Survey, “Small Arms Survey 2013, Chapter 10: Infernal Machines,” p. 228.

[10] See Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan website,

[11] Monitor survey of reports available on the United States (US) government’s Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System (DVIDS), - .

[12] Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Ministry of Interior Affairs, “In Clearance Operations, 26 Armed Taliban Killed,” 1 October 2013,

[13] US Army Central Command, Defense Imagery Management Operations Center, “Anti-personnel mines discovered in Kandahar province,” 8 January 2013, - .Ug6qMrym1TM.

[14] On 11 October 2007, Afghanistan formally notified the Mine Ban Treaty Implementation Support Unit (ISU) that “Afghanistan has now fully completed the destruction of all its known stockpiles of Anti-Personnel Mines.” Letter from Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spania, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to Kerry Brinkert, then-Manager, ISU, Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining, 11 October 2007.

[15] In April 2007, Afghanistan informed States Parties that while it had destroyed 486,226 stockpiled antipersonnel mines, two depots of antipersonnel mines still remained in Panjsheer province, about 150 kilometers north of Kabul. Provincial authorities did not make the mines available for destruction in a timely fashion. For details on the destruction program and reasons for not meeting the deadline, see Landmine Monitor Report 2007, pp. 89–90; and Landmine Monitor Report 2008, pp. 79–80.

[16] Statement by Khaled Zekriya, Head of Mine Action, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction, Geneva, 23 April 2007; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form G, 13 May 2008.

[17] Afghanistan’s Form B states 2,453 antipersonnel mines were discovered during the year 2012. However, Form G, sections 1 and 3 state 2,276. Subsequent email communication on 19 and 16 August 2013 between the Monitor and Habib Khan and Mohammad Shafiq Yosufi at Mine Action Coordination Centre of Afghanistan (MACCA) clarified that 2,276 was the correct number, and Form B was an error.

[18] The type and number of mines destroyed in each location, and the dates of destruction, have been recorded in detail. Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2012), Form G.

[19] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2011), Form D.

[20] Email from MACCA, 4 June 2011.

[21] Interview with MACCA, in Geneva, 24 June 2010. The former UN Mine Action Center for Afghanistan Program Director also told the Monitor in June 2008 that all retained mines are fuzeless and that the fuzes are destroyed prior to use in training activities.