Mine clearance again suspended
In a clear indication that Afghanistan is far from safe, the UNO has again halted mine clearance activities along the route from Kabul to Kandahar, the most important road in the country.
This is not some remote track in the mountains. It is the main highway in Afghanistan. The security situation has become so critical that de-mining teams have been pulled out of the region until their safety can be guaranteed, after a series of attacks by armed groups.
Manoel de Oliveira e Silva, spokesperson for UNAMA (the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan), declared that mine clearance teams have been attacked or threatened that they would be killed if they did not leave the area.
However, there have been demonstrations in support of the work undertaken by these brave teams, who risk their lives for the benefit of others.
Apart from the lack of security, another problem facing Afghanistan is the lack of funding from abroad. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has declared that long-term projects will be suspended unless there is immediate funding from donor countries.
Manfred Staab, the FAO program manager for Afghanistan, declared that "without the additional amount of USD25 million, we will have to stop more than 70 per cent of our activities by the end of this year", stating that this would entail "serious repercussions" for the country's farmers. The projects include vaccination programs, repairing of irrigation systems, the implementation of services, the marketing of produce, seed production and cultivation processes.
If the troops stationed in Afghanistan cannot guarantee the safety of mine clearance workers, this raises the question of how many casualties there are among them that go unreported. If the international community does not have the will to pay for the restructuring of Afghanistan, it would be better in future for the United Nations Organization to undertake properly planned and long-term commitments, not the USA and UK, hoping that the rest of the world will then follow.