HL Deb 16 April 2002 vol 633 cc151-2WA
Lord Judd

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their assessment of the risk to innocent men, women and children of unexploded ammunition in Afghanistan; what indications this has for future military policy; and what action they are taking. [HL3524]

Lord Bach

There is a considerable quantity of unexploded ordnance in Afghanistan, much of it dating back several years, and this obviously poses risks to the population. One task for the international community will be to provide assistance in clearing this and humanitarian agencies specialising in mine clearance are already present in Afghanistan.

The Department for International Development has so far allocated £3.2 million through the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) for humanitarian mine action interventions in Afghanistan. This will cover mine clearance operations, training and mines awareness activities. The Ministry of Defence has also posted a military officer to assist the UNMAS in Kabul.

The coalition puts great care into its selection of targets and weapons. We only target military objectives that would provide a military advantage to the coalition and all munitions are designed to explode on impact. This approach will remain.

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