Landmine kills 13 Afghans on way to picnic
July 21 2002
By Dusan Stojanovic
Kabul, Afghanistan - A bus carrying people to a picnic area hit a landmine
in central Afghanistan, killing 13 passengers and injuring six others, a
UN official said on Sunday.
The accident occurred on Saturday near Bamiyan, about 200km west of the
capital, Kabul, said UN spokesperson David Singh.
Passengers urged the driver to take a detour because of landmines on the
main road, but he ignored their pleas, Singh said. A team later cleared
the remaining mines from the road.
Singh said that out of the six wounded, one passenger was seriously
injured. The bus was carrying 22 passengers, all Afghans en route to a
picnic area near the eastern edge of Band-i-Amir lake, a picturesque
resort area. The remaining passengers were unharmed, police said.
Afghanistan's two decades of warfare left an estimated five million to 10
million landmines littering the country, the vast majority of them left by
the Soviets during their 10-year occupation of the country.
The International Committee for the Red Cross estimates about 3 000
Afghans are maimed each year by landmines. According to UN estimates, 100
000 people have been injured or maimed over the past 23 years.
Despite months of intensive clearance efforts, landmines remain a deadly
scourge for civilians and troops alike.
Children are the most common victims. But in March, a US Navy SEAL was
killed when he stepped on a land mine during a training mission near the
US base in Kandahar, Afghanistan's second largest city. - Sapa-AP
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