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Key factors for civilian injuries and deaths from exploding landmines and ordnance
  1. Amber B Surrency1,
  2. Philip L Graitcer2,
  3. Alden K Henderson3
  1. 1Save the Children, Pakistan/Afghanistan Field Office
  2. 2Center for Injury Control, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  3. 3Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr A Henderson
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mail Stop E-31, 1600 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA; ahenderson{at}


Objective: To identify risk factors for death or injury from landmines and ordnance in Kabul City, Afghanistan, so programs can target preventive actions.

Methods: Active surveillance in hospitals and communities for injuries and deaths from landmine and ordnance explosions in Kabul City.

Results: Of the 571 people the authors identified during the 25-month period, 161 suffered a traumatic amputation and 94 were killed from a landmine or ordnance explosion. Of those asked, 19% of victims had received mine awareness education before the incident, and of those, the majority was injured while handling or playing with an explosive device. Most victims were young males with a few years of education. The occupation types most at risk were students and laborers, and unemployment was common among the victims. Collecting wood or paper and playing with or handling an explosive were the most frequent activities associated with injuries and deaths.

Conclusions: From May 1996 to July 1998, explosions from landmines and ordnance claimed 571 victims and were an important preventable cause of injury and death among people in Kabul City. Prevention strategies should focus on high-risk groups and changing risky behaviors, such as tampering with explosive devices.

  • ICRC, International Committee of the Red Cross

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  • Competing interests: None.

  • The corresponding author, Dr Henderson, had full access to all the data in the study and has final responsibility for the decision to submit for publication.