BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA MINEFIELD STATUS
Task Force Eagle (TFE) deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina (B-H) for Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR in December 1995. One of TFE's primary missions was to supervise the Former Warring Factions (FWFs) in clearing all mines, unexploded ordnance (UXO), booby traps, and fortifications emplaced during the three and a half years of war in the former Yugoslavia. The factions, consisting of the Bosnian Government Army (ABiH), commonly referred to as the Muslims, the Bosnian Croat Army (HVO), better known as the Croats, and the Army of Bosnian Republic of Serbia (VRS) or Serbs, emplaced millions of mines throughout the country. Civilian militias also took part in emplacing mines and other obstacles throughout the region. Most minefields were emplaced to support battle lines along the Zone of Separation (ZOS).
Eight primary FWF units operated within the TFE sector. After 23 months since the peacekeeping mission began, the factions cleared just 2,147 of the 7,943 minefields emplaced during the war in the TFE sector. While progress was made in the minefield-clearing effort, more minefields were discovered every week, signaling that minelifting would likely continue in Bosnia for years to come. During his change of command ceremony in November 1996, a Polish brigade commander who had supported TFE, best summed up the situation when he stated,
Mines have played a major role in military conflicts for years. In 1960, six Civil War land mines were recovered near Mobile, Alabama. The powder in the mines was still considered dangerous.
Future military operations, particularly peace operations, will almost certainly require U.S. soldiers to deal with antipersonnel and antitank mines -- the inexpensive and highly lethal "poor man's weapon." Each of at least nine countries currently has more than one million uncleared mines within its borders.
|Country||Estimated Numbers Emplaced (in millions)|
|Afghanistan||9 - 10|
|Kuwait||5 - 7|
|Iraq||5 - 10|
|Somalia||1 - 1.5|
|Bosnia-Herzegovina||1 (per United Nations Mine Action Center data)|
NOTE: The number of uncleared mines in Rwanda is unknown but it is estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands.
STATISTICS FROM U.S. DEPT OF STATE POLITICAL - MILITARY AFFAIRS REPORT (1993) "MINE WARFARE DURING PEACE SUPPORT OPERATIONS," DISPATCHES, LFC HQ (CDN)
Section II: Factional Mines and Employment Techniques
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|