Last Updated: 01 December 2014

Mine Ban Policy

Mine ban policy overview

Mine Ban Treaty status

State Party

National implementation measures

Considering draft regulation on implementation measures

Transparency reporting

Provided an updated Article 7 report in April 2014


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] A draft regulation prohibiting the use, stockpiling, production, and transfer of mines and cluster munitions was prepared in 2013 and was still in process as of April 2014.[2]

Afghanistan has submitted 11 Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 reports; most recently in April 2014, a report covering calendar year 2013.[3]

Over the past decade, Afghanistan has participated in every Meeting of States Parties and all intersessional meetings of the Mine Ban Treaty, including the Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties in December 2013 in Geneva. It attended the Mine Ban Treaty’s First Review Conference in Nairobi in 2004 and its Second Review Conference in Cartagena in 2009, but its delegation to the Third Review Conference in Maputo in June 2014 was denied a transit visa enroute. Afghanistan’s statements intended for the Maputo conference were uploaded to the treaty’s website.


There have been no reports of antipersonnel mine use by Coalition or Afghan national forces. However, use of victim-activated improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by armed groups continued in 2013 and in the first half of 2014, resulting in further casualties.

Non-state armed groups

The Taliban has made extensive use of victim-activated IEDs in Afghanistan as have other armed groups that oppose the Kabul government and the NATO/International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) forces, such as the Haqqani Network, and Hezb-e-Islami.

In the first half of 2014, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) recorded an increase in incidents caused by victim-activated IEDs compared to the same time period in 2013. It stated that the majority of IEDs used in Afghanistan are victim-activated, most via pressure plates.[4]

UNAMA shares the view of Mine Ban Treaty States Parties that victim-activated IEDs function as antipersonnel mines and are prohibited by the Mine Ban Treaty, while command-detonated IEDs are not banned.[5]

In 2014, UNAMA reported that the majority of pressure plate IEDs are still set to detonate when walked on or driven over and frequently contain up to 20–25kg of explosives, more than twice that of a standard antivehicle mine.[6] As a result of this design and configuration, the explosive weapons “effectively act as a massive antipersonnel landmine with the capability of destroying a tank;” “civilians who step on or drive over these IEDs…have no defense against them and very little chance of survival…A significant number of IEDs are encountered with explosive weight of approximately 24kg specifically designed to maim or kill individuals on foot.”[7] Reportedly some pressure plate initiated IEDs 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.[8]

In October 2012 on the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan website, the Taliban denied the use of victim-activated explosive devices and said it uses command-detonated explosive devices.[9] The Taliban have continued to claim responsibility for an extensive number of attacks against military personnel and vehicles using command-detonated IEDs.[10] The Taliban also claimed responsibility on 7 November 2013 for the deaths of three security officials who stepped on a landmine laid by the Taliban in Khost Province.[11]

In July 2013 a media survey by the Monitor identified 404 antipersonnel mines reportedly recovered by Afghan or combined forces between June 2012 and July 2013. According to seizures reported by the media in Pakistan, antipersonnel mines from Afghanistan continue to be transferred into the country[12] (see Pakistans Monitor profile).

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.

Afghanistan reported that it completed its stockpile destruction obligation in October 2007, eight months after its treaty-mandated deadline of 1 March 2007.[13] It reported the destruction of 525,504 stockpiled antipersonnel mines between 2003 and 2007.[14] 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.[15]

Afghan security forces regularly recover weapons, sometimes landmines, in their operations.[16] In 2013, it reported that a total of 8,013 antipersonnel mines were discovered and destroyed during calendar year 2013 from stocks recovered during military operations, surrendered during disarmament programs, and discovered by civilians.[17] Since Afghanistan’s stockpile destruction deadline, it has discovered and destroyed 81,674 antipersonnel mines in previously unknown stockpiles.[18]

Mines retained for training and development

Afghanistan does not retain any live mines for training in mine detection, mine clearance, or mine destruction techniques. It has reported that “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] The Ministry of Justice has advised that the regulation must amend existing law rather than create a new law. Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, April 2014, Form A.

[3] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, April 2014. Previous Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 reports were submitted: in 2013, 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 the first half of 2014, UNAMA documented 308 victim-activated IED casualties, an increase from the same period in 2013. UNAMA, “Afghanistan Annual Report 2013, Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict,” Kabul, February 2014, p. 20; and UNAMA, “Afghanistan Mid-year Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict: 2014,” Kabul, July 2014, p. 17..

[6] Ibid.

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

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

[9] “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.

[11] Press Release, “Afghanistan in the month of November 2013,” Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, 16 December 2013.

[12] Landmine Monitor 2014 Pakistan country profile.

[13] 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.

[14] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2013), Form G. There has been some lack of clarity as to how many stockpiled mines Afghanistan had destroyed at the time it declared completion of the program. See Landmine Monitor Report 2009, pp. 99–100.

16 Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2007), Form G, 13 May 2008.

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

[17] Afghanistan’s Article 7 report, Form B states 8,013 antipersonnel mines were discovered during the year 2013.

[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 2013), Form G.

[19] See for example, Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2011, 2012, or 2013), 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 were destroyed prior to use in training activities.