British Expert: Landmines In Azerbaijan's Liberated Territories Impact S. Caucasus

(MENAFN- AzerNews)

Qabil Ashirov Read more

Even though April 4 is marked as the International Day of MineAwareness and Assistance for Mine Action in the world, as a resultof Armenia's insidious policy, Azerbaijan still remains globallyamong the most polluted countries with mines and unexplodedordnance. Thus, following Armenia's aggressive policy againstAzerbaijan in the 1980s and 1990s, more than 1.5 million landmineshave been buried in Azerbaijan's formerly occupied territories,according to preliminary estimates.

It is worth noting that, unfortunately, Armenia's use of mineterrorism against Azerbaijan was not limited to the 1990s. Itcontinued to use this heinous policy even after the Second GarabaghWar. Since the end of the Second Garabagh War, 350 Azerbaijanicitizens have been victims of landmines; 65 of them died and 285were seriously injured.

In general, since the beginning of the military aggression ofArmenia against Azerbaijan, about 3429 Azerbaijani citizens havebeen injured by landmines; 595 of them have lost their lives; andaccording to the report, 357 of the victims were children, and 38were women.

The founding of thousands of Armenian-made anti-personnel minesin Garabagh and border areas in fabricated 2021 proves that evenafter the end of the Garabagh conflict, Armenia planted land minesin Azerbaijani territories using the Lachin-Khankendi road.

In a comment to Azernews on the issue, NeilWatson, the British journalist and expert on energy issues, saidthat there is no doubt that landmines left over from the first andsecond Garabagh wars and then planted after the ceasefire in 2020are the most major issue impacting construction and reconstructionof the liberated territories. He noted that landmines arecompletely indiscriminate and kill men, women, children, andelderly people.

“They remain in the ground for decades after the conflictfinishes and become more unstable over time. There are an estimated1.5 million landmines in the liberated territories, all of Sovietor Russian design but of Armenian manufacture. Recently, there wasan event in the British Parliament hosted by one of the All PartyParliamentary Groups on Explosive Devices.

An ANAMA spokesman explained the various types of mines, theproblems that they represent, and that Armenia has released veryfew mine maps, which have questionable accuracy. There were thenpresentations from British partners involved in mine identificationand clearance, including those using African pouched brown rats anddogs to find landmines. We also heard how women are being trainedin Azerbaijan to find and defuse mines. I have been to Aghdam andShusha, where no clearance or reconstruction can take place untilmines are cleared, and it's important for Armenia to helpAzerbaijan locate the mines and the international community toassist,” he noted.

The Biritish expert mentioned that over 90 percent of deminingactivities are carried out at the expense of Azerbaijan's internalresources. Although there is cooperation with some foreignpartners, overall external support is limited. Watson alsoemphasised that the issue is delaying the return of the IDPs, whichimpacts the economy of the region.

“The landmine issue is delaying the return of the IDPs. Noreconstruction can take place until the land is cleared and madesafe. It is impossible to reconstruct and shape new cities untilall landmines have been removed from the liberated territories the scale of the problem, this could take two decades and itimpacts the development of the economy of the region,” the expertconcluded.


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