Iraq is littered with landmines from decades of armed conflict. Millions were planted by former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein (1979-2003) during the Iran-Iraq War back in the 1980s. Countless more were planted by the Islamic State group (IS) over 2014-15.
As a result, landmines are today found throughout the country. According to the United Nations Mine Action Service, war remnants contaminate almost 3B square meters, including more than 250M square meters in the Kurdistan region alone. This makes Iraq one of the most mined countries in the world.
Long after wars have ended, these conflict relics continue to wreak havoc on the lives of ordinary Iraqis. It has been estimated that mines have killed at least 10,000 Iraqis and injured 24,000 in the past two decades.
The failure to remove the mines stems from two main factors: US inaction after its 2003 invasion as well as a cycle of corruption alleged to involve the international and local organizations charged with demining efforts...
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