Explosives left behind when wars end are unforgiving and indiscriminate in whom they kill and maim. Long after soldiers leave the battlefields, the carnage continues from land mines spread across the countryside and ordnances abandoned at former military bases and firing ranges.
That said, it is incumbent upon the United States led International Security Assistance Force to do everything humanly possible to rid the Afghanistan landscape of explosives as they prepare for their departure in 2014.
There is much work to do as the forces disassemble hundreds of bases large and small scattered across the country.
The results to date are disturbing: In the first six months of 2013, nearly 150 people — 80 percent of them children — were injured or killed by detonated munitions. That’s 53 percent more victims than in a comparable time in 2012.
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The U.S.-led forces must do everything in their power to eliminate the unnecessary death and injury from explosives. The people of Afghanistan have enough other challenges to face in the years ahead.