ATC is the oldest implementing partner of the Mine Action Coordination Center of Afghanistan (MACCA), and non-governmental organization (NGO) for humanitarian Mine/ERW clearance projects in Afghanistan. It was established in October 1989 by the present director Mr. Kefayatullah Eblagh, who implemented a pilot project of US$ 240,000 worth.
ATC started demining operations in early 1990 with an initial staff of 35. Since then, it has undergone significant changes and expansion.
ATC has developed into a highly organized and effective NGO employing more than 3000 personnel previously. But, shortage of funds affected ATC as it had to make tremendous reduction in capacity in 2006 and 2007.
ATC’s policy on discipline and complete political neutrality in the community has been followed in order to foster friendly relationships with government authorities, regional and local leaderships. This helps to promote respect and appreciation for demining operations carried out by ATC and helps in smooth running and timely completion of our projects.
ATC since its establishment has developed itself into a highly disciplined non-governmental organization. Over the years it has gained immense experience. ATC manages its activities on modern lines and keeps accurate records of its financial matters to the satisfaction of donors.
ATC, with financial assistance from donors; directly or through the UN, is achieving its goals and is playing an important role in removing as many mines as possible.
The principle objective of ATC is the elimination of mines and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) through the removal, destruction or neutralization of all explosive devices.
Other ATC objectives are summarized by the following:
- To enable safe return of Afghan refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes and lands;
- To enable the resumption of normal economic activities;
- To provide an emergency response section to rescue persons trapped in minefields and other similar situations;
- To provide mine/ERW risk education to civilians in mine affected communities by volunteer members of demining teams and community-based MRE teams; and
- To operate with complete safety, as far as possible, for demining teams and maintain high levels of productivity and efficiency;
ATC’s mine-clearance goals, including the clearance of ERW, are achieved through:
- Development and maintenance of a sustainable system for the control and systematic clearance of contaminated land;
- Allocation of clearance resources according to established priorities;
- Allocation of the safest, most efficient and effective mine-clearance technologies available to the program for identified tasks;
- Application of quality assurance measures monitoring and evaluation of clearance activities;
- Encouragement of, and help in the development of sustainable, efficient and cost-effective technologies to improve the effectiveness of clearance processes;
- Continuous development and achievement of safe work practices;
- Application of safe technologies to minimize the risk of mine and explosive device incidents, injuries and deaths, which may occur in the clearance process; and,
- Clearance verification of areas from which mines and other devices has been cleared by ATC teams.
Since 1978, most mines were laid by that time Afghan government and the former Soviet Union army.
The mine laying was expanded to scattering mines around deserted villages, which the Mujahidin might use for shelter, or known or suspected infiltrated routes.
The Mujahidin, made much use of Anti Tank mines to destroy Tanks, APCs or other military vehicles as well.
ATC staff, while performing their duties in one of the most hazardous tasks, worked hard so that Afghanistan could welcome back millions of its citizens, who had been forced to leave for fear of losing their lives or limbs due to innumerable mines that have been laid.
With tireless efforts, ATC expects more areas to be cleared of mines, which will allow more Afghans the ability to return back to their homes and assist in rehabilitating Afghanistan. This in turn will once again place Afghanistan as a prosperous member of the world community.
Despite extensive precautions and training, ATC staff have had several unpleasant mine incidents which resulted in some disability. However, ATC is steadily continuing to improve its safety record.
ATC has performed an important service for the Afghan nation by undertaking this high-risk activity to save the lives of many Afghans and to bring more than 308 square kilometers of land back to productive use.
The offer of non-demining projects to ATC for undertaking and implementation is, in fact, is the trust that ATC has gained by excellent management and quality performance in the field.
In ATC, great care has always been taken to ensure the efficient use of donor funds through proper control of expenditures. Account books/ledgers are properly maintained and are audited by the United Nations and other donors internally and externally.
ATC also promotes mine risk education for the people living nearby contaminated areas who are exposed to the greatest risk. The deminers deliver mine risk education in their free time and without cost.
Since its establishment, ATC has vigorously undertaken MRE, manual mine clearance, battle area clearance, mechanical mine clearance, explosive ordnance disposal, Mine detection Dog operation and some non-demining projects in 31 provinces of Afghanistan.
ATC works in close co-operation with other demining organizations coordinated by MACCA.
Through periodicals and in various world gatherings, ATC has strongly advocated a ban on the manufacture, transfer and use of land mines and has warned the world community not to experience the calamity, which the Afghan nation has been subjected to.
ATC is legally registered as a humanitarian mine/ERW clearance organization with the following authorities and organizations:
- Government of The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
- Government of The Islamic Republic of Pakistan
- UNOCHA (The United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Assistance, Afghanistan)
- The United Nations Vendor Roster in New York
- ACBAR (Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief)
- ANCB (Afghan NGOs Co-ordination Bureau)