Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 16 November 2016


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. In August 2016, a representative of Ministry of Justice stated to an NGO forum that the legal process of the legislation for the convention was now included in the priorities of the ministry, which will attempt to finish the legal process by March 2017.[2]

Afghanistan submitted its 13th Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report in April 2016, a report covering calendar year 2015.[3]

Over the past decade, Afghanistan has participated in every Meeting of States Parties, including the convention’s Fourteenth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in December 2015. Afghanistan participated in all intersessional meetings of the Mine Ban Treaty, except in May 2016. It attended the Mine Ban Treaty’s First Review Conference in Nairobi in 2004 and its Second Review Conference in Cartagena in 2009, however its delegation to the Third Review Conference in Maputo in June 2014 was denied a transit visa en-route. 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 2015 and 2016, resulting in further casualties.

Non-state armed groups

The use of victim-activated improvised mines continued in Afghanistan by armed groups, mainly the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and Hezb-e-Islami that oppose the government. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) reported that anti-government forces used victim-activated improvised mines in decreasing numbers during early 2016. Victim-activated (pressure plate) improvised mines were responsible for almost half of all casualties recorded from IEDs during the first half of 2016, down 17% from 2015.[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 September 2015, Afghan officials were quoted as stating that the Taliban had emplaced landmines and booby-traps around Kunduz after seizing the city.[6] In December 2015, in Faryab province, official’s recovered the body of a soldier that they allege had been booby-trapped with an explosive device by the Taliban.[7] In July 2016, the administrative chief of Andar district of Ghazni province stated that Taliban forces had laid mines in public areas of the district, including near mosques and schools, in their armed conflict with the government.[8]

The Taliban have not made any statement regarding use of victim-activated IEDs since October 2012, when on the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan website the Taliban denied the use of victim-activated explosive devices and said it uses only command-detonated explosive devices.[9] As in previous years, the Taliban have claimed responsibility for an extensive number of attacks against military personnel and vehicles using command-detonated IEDs.[10]

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.[11] It reported the destruction of 525,504 stockpiled antipersonnel mines between 2003 and 2007.[12] 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.[13]

Afghan security forces regularly recover weapons, sometimes including landmines, in their operations. In May 2016, in Zabul Province, the Afghan National Army recovered 48 landmines of an unknown type among other weapons during an offensive.[14] In September 2015, in Helmand Province, authorities seized more than 2000 kilograms of explosives for making IEDs, along with antipersonnel mines and other weapons.[15]

In 2015, Afghanistan reported that a total of 329 antipersonnel mines were discovered and destroyed during calendar year 2015 from stocks recovered during military operations, surrendered during disarmament programs, and discovered by civilians.[16] Since Afghanistan’s stockpile destruction deadline, it has discovered and destroyed 83,321 antipersonnel mines in previously unknown stockpiles.[17]

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.”[18] 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.[19] All mines retained are fuzeless and are used to train mine detection dogs.[20]

[1] Previously, Afghanistan reported that the Ministry of Defense 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. In April 2016, Afghanistan wrote that, “Afghanistan has long time back drafted a law as an instrument for the implementation of Article 9 of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention and Convention on Cluster Munitions. This will supplement an existing law banning the use, acquisition, trading and stockpiling of weapons, ammunition and explosive items without the required legal license. This new law relates specifically to the provisions of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and Ottawa Treaty. The Ministry of Justice has already reviewed this draft and advised that it should be made available as an annex to the existing law than processing it as a new law. This is still in the ministry of justice. H.E. The President is aware of it through DMAC and has promised to put pressure on the Ministry of Justice to take it in the review plan of 1395 (April 2016 – March 2017).” Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form A, April 2016.

[2] Statement by Shah Wali Ataie’s, Director of Planning and Policy, Ministry of Justice, Kabul, 1 August 2016. Meeting organized by Afghan Landmine Survivors’ Organization, Directorate of Mine Action Coordination, Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority, United Nations Mine Action Services, and Mine Detection Center on 1st August 2016, 6th Anniversary of Convention on Cluster Munitions Entry into Force with the theme of “Global Day of Action.” Seventy-five people participated from government, civil society organizations, and media. The participations requested that the Ministry of Justice finish the legislation process for both the Mine Ban Treaty and Convention on Cluster Munitions. Notes by Islam Mohammadi, Landmine & Cluster Munition Monitor Researcher.

[3] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, April 2016. Previous Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 reports were submitted annually, except in 2011.

[4] UNAMA, “Afghanistan Mid-year Report 2016 Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict,” Kabul, September 2016, pp. 49–50. Although overall casualty numbers decreased, pressure-plate IEDs caused 48% of civilian casualties from IEDs in the first half of 2016, compared to 46% in the first half of 2015.

[5] Ibid., p. 50.

[6]Afghan forces struggle to retake Kunduz city from Taliban,” The Express Tribune (AFP), 30 September 2015.

[7]Taliban kill ANA soldier, place bomb beneath his corpse in Faryab,” Pajhwok Afghan News, 26 December 2015.

[8]  “Taliban trying to overrun Andar district, says district chief,” Pajhwok Afghan News, 27 July 2016.

[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.

[11] 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.

[12] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2013), Form G. How many stockpiled mines Afghanistan had destroyed at the time it declared completion of the program lacked clarity. See, Landmine Monitor Report 2009, pp. 99–100.

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

[14]  “3 fighters killed, landmines seized in Zabul operation,” Pajhwok Afghan News, 6 May 2016.

[15]Above 2,000 kg of explosives seized in Helmand,” Pajhwok Afghan News, 3 September 2015.

[16] Afghanistan’s Article 7 report, Form B (for calendar year 2015) states that 329 antipersonnel mines of US, Chinese, Russian, Pakistani, Iranian, Israeli, and unknown manufacture were seized or recovered during 2015.

[17] 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 2015), Form G.

[18] Reported in Afghanistan’s Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form D, each year since 2012.

[19] Email from MACCA, 4 June 2011.

[20] 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.