Officials from Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and the United States Come to Dushanbe to Support a Mine-Free Afghanistan

Officials from Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and the United States met in Dushanbe on Tuesday, April 19, 2016, to support humanitarian mine action activities in Afghanistan. The officials, including H.E. Mr. Wais Ahmad Barmak, State Minister for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs and Chairman of ANDMA; Ambassador P. Michael McKinley, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan; H.E. Mohammad Mustafa Mastoor, Deputy Minister for Finance and Special Representative of the Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan; H.E. Mr. Muzaffar Huseynov, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tajikistan; and Ambassador Elisabeth Millard, U.S. Ambassador to Tajikistan, spoke during the opening session of the Afghanistan Donor Coordination Workshop for Mine Action. This meeting brought together representatives from mine action donor countries and national and international NGOs implementing humanitarian mine action projects in Afghanistan. The workshop is organized with the generous support of the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement and facilitated by the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD). It offers an opportunity for invited participants to review the current funding situation for mine action projects in Afghanistan and identify areas where additional investments are needed. It aims to strengthen linkages between the international donor community and implementing partners, and facilitate the exchange of views of challenges and opportunities in both funding and operations.

The Government of Afghanistan is prioritizing mine action with the aim of achieving a mine-free Afghanistan by 2023, and President Ashraf Ghani has called on the international community to support Afghanistan’s mine action program. Mine clearance is essential to Afghanistan’s development as it saves lives, allows land to be used productively, creates jobs, promotes local security, reduces the burden on Afghanistan’s health services, and strengthens communities. H.E Mohammad Ashraf Ghani President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has recently appointed H.E. Mr. Wais Ahmad Barmak as State Minister for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs and Chairman of the Afghan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA). H.E minister Barmak is working to further promote the profile of Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan (MAPA) at national and international levels and to bring this programme under full ownership and leadership of the Government. ANDMA is the secretariat and operational arm of the National Disaster Management Commission (NDMC) an Inter-Ministerial Board (IMB), which also serves as the National Mine Action Authority for Afghanistan. ANDMA through its Directorate of Mine Action Coordination (DMAC) coordinates and oversees mine action activities in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan and Tajikistan have been increasingly supportive of each other in the field of mine action. As such, the Tajikistan National Mine Action Center lent its support to the workshop held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Collaboration between these two mine action programs has been highlighted as an example of successful South-South cooperation in the mine action field.