Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 09 October 2018


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 its Article 7 report submitted in 2018, Afghanistan reported the regulation “recently has been processed by the Ministry of Justice and has been sent to the Legislation Committee of the Cabinet of Ministers for their review and approval. DMAC [the Directorate of Mine Action Coordination] will follow it up with the Legislation Committee of the Cabinet to ensure it can be endorsed by them as soon as possible.”[2]

Afghanistan has submitted its annual Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report covering calendar year 2017.[3]

Over the past decade, Afghanistan has participated in every Meeting of States Parties, including the convention’s Sixteenth Meeting of States Parties in Vienna in December 2017. Afghanistan has participated in all intersessional meetings of the Mine Ban Treaty, except in May 2016. It also 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.


Use of victim-activated improvised mines and other improvised explosive devices (IEDs)by armed groups continued in 2017 and 2018, resulting in further casualties.

Non-state armed groups

The use of victim-activated improvised mines by armed groups, mainly the Taliban, and Daesh/Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), continued in 2018. In June 2018, Afghanistan informed States Parties that new use of pressure plate improvised mines, which are causing approximately 170 deaths a month, was adding to their clearance burden and making it difficult to meet their Article 5 obligations.[4]

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) reported that anti-government forces used victim-activated improvised mines throughout 2017 and the first half of 2018. Victim-activated (pressure plate) improvised mines were responsible for more than half of all casualties attributed to indiscriminate explosive weapons during 2017, but overall casualties reportedly dropped by 8% from 2016.[5] However, not all pressure plate improvised mines can be detonated by a human being. An investigation into pressure plate mine incidents in 2017 by the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) determined that roughly three-quarters of pressure plate improvised mines were antipersonnel, and that a quarter were antivehicle.[6] In 2018, UNAMA reported that use of pressure-plate IEDs, while continuing, decreased dramatically. UNAMA documented a 43% reduction in civilian casualties attributed to pressure plate improvised mines when compared to the same period in 2017.[7] 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.[8] In July 2018, UNAMA reported that it had engaged in extensive advocacy efforts with anti-government elements on civilian casualties caused by pressure plate improvised mines for some years.[9]

The Taliban have not made any statement regarding use of victim-activated IEDs since October 2012, when, on the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan website, it denied the use of victim-activated explosive devices and said it uses only command-detonated explosive devices.[10] As in previous years, the Taliban have claimed responsibility for an extensive number of attacks against military personnel and vehicles using landmines.[11]

At least 3 deminers were killed by Daesh/ISKP in 2017 and at least 95 mine clearance staff were abducted during the year.[12]

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 landmines 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]

Previously, there were regular reports of Afghan security forces seizing caches of landmines during military operations or surrendered to the authorities. Afghanistan reported that a total of 886 antipersonnel mines were discovered and destroyed during calendar year 2017 from stocks recovered during military operations, surrendered during disarmament programs, and discovered by civilians.[16] Since Afghanistan’s stockpile destruction deadline, it has reported discovery and destruction of 84,518 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 Center 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.

[3] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017). Previous Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 reports were submitted annually, except in 2011.

[4] Statement of Afghanistan, Session on Clearance, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 8 June 2018.

[6] Email to the Monitor from Abdul Qudos Ziaee, UNOPS, Kabul, 13 June 2018. The analysis assumed that for incidents involving improvised mines with a pressure plate that produced more than two casualties as likely antivehicle improvised mines, and incidents with one to two casualties as likely antipersonnel improvised mines.

[10] “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.

[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. 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.

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

[16] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form Bstates that 886 antipersonnel mines manufactured in China, Czechoslovakia, Iran, Italy, Pakistan, and Russia were seized or recovered during 2017.

[17] The type and number of mines destroyed in each location as well as the dates of destruction have been recorded in detail. Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), 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.