Russian Combat Engineers Clear ex-USSR Embassy in Afghanistan of Mines

A group of combat engineers under the Russian Ministry of Civil Defence, Emergencies and Natural Disasters cleared facilities of the ex-USSR Embassy in Kabul and the territory around it of mines. Construction workers have already started restoration of the facilities, Russian Deputy Minister of Civil Defence, Emergencies and Natural Disasters Yuri Brazhnikov said.

According to Mr. Brazhnikov, the combat engineers found mines on an area of 30.000 square meters including buildings and facilities of the embassy as well as 23.000 square meters of the embassy's territory. As a result, 27 explosive items including 4 artillery shells, 3 mortar shells and an anti-personnel mine were disposed of.

Yuri Brazhnikov recalled that the first stage of the embassy's demining had been carried out in 2002. Then the combat engineers cleared 26 embassy facilities the total area of which is 22.000 square meters of mines and explosives. All bunkers, underground corridors and heating pipelines with a total area of 3 kilometres were demined.

Mr. Brazhnikov said that the most experienced Russian combat engineers who had worked in Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo and Afghanistan demining the Salang Tunnel that connects the north and the south of Afghanistan had been involved in the demining of the embassy's facilities.

During the humanitarian operation in Afghanistan the Russian combat engineers disposed of about 15.000 explosives including, 6,636 explosives in the Salang Tunnel, Yuri Brazhnikov stressed.

According to him, at present, Afghanistan is the second dangerous country after Angola in the world in terms of mines. More than 10 mln mines are laid in the country and they kill about 100 people every month. There are 700 square kilometres of land to be cleared of mines in Afghanistan. To do this we need $500 mln, Yuri Brazhnikov said.

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