DUSHANBE, November 15, Asia-Plus - Since the beginning of the year, demining teams in Tajikistan have discovered and neutralized 882 anti-personnel mines and 32 unexploded ordnances, according to the Tajik Mine Action Cell (TMAC).

The TMAC deputy director Parviz Mavlonqulov said that more than 255,000 square meters of the mine-strewn areas have been cleared.  According to him demining work in Panj, Tavildara and Rasht districts was already completed.      

“At present demining teams work in four other areas,” said the mine action body official, “Thus, the demining work is under way in the Vanj district of Gorno Badakhshan, where 75,000 square meters of land have been cleared of mine so far, in the Chor Charogh area (Rasht Valley), where demining team has to date cleared 88,000 square meters of land of mines, in the Darvoz district of Gorno Badakhshan, where more than 2,000 squares meters of land have been cleared of mines, and in the Rudaki district, where demining groups have to clear nearly 10,000 square meters of land of unexploded ordnances,” Mavlonqulov said.  

He added that four Tajik demining teams numbering 21 persons each and a demining group of France’s Ministry of Defense have been working in these areas. 

“At the request of the Tajik government beginning from the next week, the TMAC will check the territory of former military unit in Dushanbe, located not far from the being built Palace of Nation,” the TMAC deputy director said. 

Tajikistan has the largest landmines problem in Central Asian, with more than 25,000 square kilometers of land to be cleared of mines - an area over half the size of Switzerland.  Most of the mines in the former Soviet republic were laid during the country''s bloody five-year civil war that ended in 1997, but they can also be found along its borders with neighboring Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.  230 Tajiks have been killed and 270 others have been injured by landmines in Tajikistan since 1992.