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Last Updated: 02 October 2012

Mine Ban Policy

Commitment to the Mine Ban Treaty

Mine Ban Treaty status

State Party

National implementation measures

Has not enacted new implementation measures

Transparency reporting

For calendar year 2011


The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty on 11 September 2002, becoming a State Party on 1 March 2003. While it has not adopted national implementation legislation,[1] in August 2012 a committee was established to develop a “regulation” for implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The Committee members include the Mine Action Coordination Centre for Afghanistan (MACCA), Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority, as well as the NGOs Mine Detection Dog Center and the Afghan Landmine Survivors’ Organization.[2]

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

Afghanistan participated in the Eleventh Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in November–December 2010 in Phnom Penh, as well as the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in May 2012. Afghanistan participated extensively in the sessions on victim assistance, and made presentations on mine clearance at both meetings.  

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

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. There have been no confirmed reports of outside supply of antipersonnel mines to non-state armed groups in recent years.

Afghanistan reported that it completed its stockpile destruction obligation in October 2007,[4] eight months after its treaty-mandated deadline of 1 March 2007.[5] It is unclear how many stockpiled mines Afghanistan had destroyed at the time it declared completion of the program. It reported that as of April 2007, it had destroyed 486,226 stockpiled antipersonnel mines,[6] and later reported that in calendar year 2007, it destroyed 81,595 antipersonnel mines.[7] How many of those were found and destroyed after the October 2007 declaration of completion is not known.

In Afghanistan’s Article 7 report covering calendar year 2011, it reported that mine stockpiles continue to be recovered during military operations, turned in during disarmament programs, and discovered by civilians. A total of 2,850 antipersonnel mines were discovered and destroyed during calendar year 2011, including 1,001 Iranian-produced YM-1 mines and 124 improvised mines.[8]

Mines retained for training and development

Afghanistan does not retain any mines. It stated in its 2012 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.”[9] Previously, in June 2011, the chief of operations of MACCA confirmed to the Monitor that Afghanistan does not retain any live mines for training or other purposes.[10] All mines retained by Afghanistan are fuzeless and are used to train mine detection dogs.[11]


Conflict in Afghanistan intensified in 2011, but decreased somewhat during the first half of 2012. There have been no reports of antipersonnel mine use by Coalition or Afghan national forces, but an increase in the use of victim-activated improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by armed groups has been recorded.

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, opposing the Kabul government and NATO/International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) forces.

In February and July 2012, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) released reports stating that armed groups in Afghanistan are deploying large numbers of pressure-plate, victim-activated, explosive devices.[12] 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. In 2011, UNAMA reported that the majority of pressure-plate IEDs are set to detonate from approximately 10kg of pressure and frequently contain up to 20kg of explosive, 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 24 kg specifically designed to maim or kill individuals on foot.”[13]  Two vehicles carrying 5,000 IEDs were captured by Afghan border patrol officers in Kandahar province in March 2012.[14] UNAMA has called on armed groups in Afghanistan to prohibit their members from using pressure-plate IEDs.[15]

Previously, in July 2011, on the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan website, the Taliban denied the allegation and said their explosive devices are command-detonated and do not use pressure plates.[16] Throughout 2011 and in the first half of 2012, the Taliban have continued to claim responsibility for an extensive number of attacks against military personnel and vehicles using command-detonated IEDs.[17]

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. Previously, the Monitor has reported that the vast majority of IED attacks did not involve victim-activated antipersonnel mines, even though media reports frequently attributed attacks to “landmines.”

Antipersonnel mines continue to be recovered by Afghan and ISAF forces. A non-exhaustive media survey by the Monitor found that 369 antipersonnel mines were reported to have been recovered in 26 different incidents between June 2011 and July 2012 by either ISAF, Afghan or combined forces.[18]


[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] Email from Mohammad Sediq Rashid, Chief of Operations, Mine Action Coordination Center for Afghanistan, 2 July 2012.

[3] 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] 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, Manager, ISU, Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining, 11 October 2007.

[5] 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.

[6] Statement by Khaled Zekriya, Head of Mine Action, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction, Geneva, 23 April 2007.

[7] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form G, 13 May 2008.

[8] 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 2011), Form G, http://bit.ly/RNK0OW.

[9] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2011), Form D, http://bit.ly/RNK0OW.

[10] Email from MACCA, 4 June 2011.

[11] 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.

[12] UNAMA, “Afghanistan, Annual Report 2011, Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict,” February 2012, p. 3, www.reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/UNAMA POC 2011 Report_Final_Feb 2012.pdf; and “Afghanistan Mid-year Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict: 2012,” July 2012, www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/AF/UNAMAMidYearReport2012.pdf.  

[13] UNAMA, “Afghanistan Mid-year Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict: 2012,” July 2012, pp. 13-14, www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/AF/UNAMAMidYearReport2012.pdf.

[14] Ghanizada, “Around 5,000 landmines seized in Kandahar province,” Khaama Press, 25 March 2012, www.khaama.com/around-5000-landmines-seized-in-kandahar-province-919/.

[15] UNAMA, “Afghanistan, Annual Report 2011, Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict,” February 2012, p. 3, www.reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/UNAMA POC 2011 Report_Final_Feb 2012.pdf. 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, 6 October 1998, in Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 433–434.

[16] “UNAMA accuses Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate of having caused casualties to the common people by planting land mines. However, all the country men know that Mujahideen use landmines which are controlled remotely, i.e. they are not detonated by heavy pressure. So Mujahideen’s mines aim only at a specific targets.” Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, “Statement of the Islamic Emirate Regarding the Repeatedly Baseless Accusations of UNAMA,” 19 July 2011, www.shahamat-english.com/.

[17] See Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan website, www.shahamat-english.com/.  

[18] Monitor survey of ISAF reports available on the U.S. governments Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System (DVIDS), www.dvidshub.net/search?q=anti-personnel+mine - .UGmwnI6jmP6.