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Tajikistan remains largest mines concern

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan, April 3 (UPI) -- Despite making progress on mine clearance, Tajikistan remains the largest landmine problem in Central Asia.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Thursday held an event in Tajikistan designed to draw attention to the ongoing landmine threat in the country. The OSCE event was held ahead of the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action on Friday, the OSCE reported.

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Since 2003 approximately 11,840 mines and unexploded ordnance have been destroyed as part of an OSCE program. Despite the progress Tajikistan has more than 9,300 square miles of land that is still unsafe because of mines. The country has the largest area in Central Asia in need of ordnance clearing.

"We must ensure that the cause is kept high on the global political agenda if we are to maintain the momentum toward a landmine-free world, where individuals and communities live in a safe environment conducive to development," Klaus Rasmussen, the deputy head of the OSCE office in Tajikistan, said in a statement.

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