Operating since the late 1980s, in an environment of shifting wars, the Humanitarian Mine Action ( HMA ) programme in Afghanistan has nonetheless been highly successful in reducing the impact of landmines. This article discusses three factors that have contributed to its success: the building of national capacity; the systematic application of surveys; and the ability to act flexibly and innovatively. Having operated under the auspices of the UN, but in the absence of a functioning government, the programme faces new challenges with the potential transition to peace in Afghanistan. Ultimately, however, the programme is a world leader in its field, and as one of the best functioning sectors in economic and humanitarian assistance to the country, it represents a key resource for a new internationally recognised Afghan government.
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