Independence Day: August 19, 1919
Head of state: Mohammad Ashraf Ghani
Head of government: Mohammad Ashraf Ghani
Political system: Presidential Republic
Democracy Status Index (BTI): Rank 118 of 137 (2020)
Corruption Index (CPI): Rank 173 of 180 (2019)
The American photographer and photojournalist Steve McCurry shows atmospheric pictures from Afghanistan. Incidentally, he also made the famous picture of the Afghan girl Sharbat Gula, taken in the Nasir Bagh refugee camp west of Peshawar, which became world-famous as the cover of National Geographic in 1985.
A contrast to these impressions are the photos of Afghanistan by Benjamin Krain, who works for the US regional newspaper Arkansas Democrat Gazette and who photographed the country primarily from the perspective of war and reconstruction.
Another view of Afghanistan, beyond the war, is shown by Gábor Halász. His report takes the viewer to Kabul, Bamiyan and Herat, where he meets a wide variety of people.
The award-winning short film by Salome and Lukas Augustin “ Afghanistan – touch down in flight ” also offers impressive impressions of everyday life and people, memorable images in which explosions, violence and terror play no role.
In addition, the report by the French photographer Frédéric Lagrange “Lost on the Roof of the World” provides insights into the Wakhan Corridor with its barren, beautiful high mountain landscape and the extreme living conditions for its residents.
Afghanistan Panjshir valley
The Federal Foreign Office provides basic information on Afghanistan, a country located in southern Asia according to itypeauto.
The World Factbook of the CIA, the Statistics Department of the United Nations, the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Asian Development Bank provide a comprehensive overview with numerous data on various topics. The Washington Library of Congress also has information available, as does the Federal Statistical Office with the country profile for Afghanistan.
On the Afghan side, the National Statistics and Information Authority (NSIA) Data available, e.g. with the statistical yearbook of Afghanistan.
Clearance of landmines and duds
Mine clearing – a dangerous and arduous undertaking
As part of the Ottawa Agreement, Afghanistan should be free of mines and explosive remnants of explosive ordnance by 2023, at least this is the declared goal of the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and the Directorate of Mine Action Coordination (DMAC).
At the moment Afghanistan is still one of the most heavily contaminated with mines and explosive ordnance residues (ERW) in the world. Every month, an average of 116 civilians are killed or injured by mines, ERW and improvised booby traps, almost 1 million Afghans live in the immediate vicinity of known minefields and ERW. Against this background alone, the objective appears to be at least ambitious, but mine clearance in Afghanistan can still achieve clear results. The Mine Action Program of Afghanistan (MAPA), with more than forty humanitarian and commercial
Organizations of one of the largest mine clearance programs in the world have cleared over 17 million duds and over 700,000 mines so far. Over 80% of the known minefields have been cleared, which corresponds to over 60% of all endangered areas in the country. At the same time, education programs for the civilian population about the dangers posed by mines and duds as well as programs for the rehabilitation of mine victims are carried out.
Despite everything, the Mine Action Program of Afghanistan continues to face major challenges.
Some of the contaminated areas that have yet to be cleaned are in regions that are difficult to access or in regions that are difficult to access by the Taliban controlled areas.
The NATO / ISAF troops have left behind numerous combat training areas, although the size or extent of the contamination is sometimes unclear.
Although the number of victims from mines and duds has decreased, the number of civilians killed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) has risen dramatically in recent years.
The international donor funding that has been declining for years could also have serious consequences for the program and it is doubtful whether the planned deadline for mine and ordnance clearance in 2023 can be met under these conditions.
Ultimately, not only the restoration of the entire Afghan economy, but also the successful reintegration of returning refugees depends on the elimination of these deadly relics from the war.