The ongoing U.N.-led effort to remove mines which still has 10 years of work left also could take on the base cleanup, but it doesnt have the hundreds of millions of dollars in funding such a cleanup likely would require, Hartley said.
The U.N. did clean two locations where the problems were so severe that they were deemed emergencies, she said.
At a former base north of Kabul near Bagram Air Field, eight civilians were hurt in an explosion on a firing range in January. A U.N.-funded clearance team pulled more than 400 pieces of ordnance off that site, Rashid said.
Another U.N.-funded team is in the middle of cleaning up what it believes to be the firing range for the recently closed New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team on the edge of the town of Bamiyan in central Afghanistan, the U.N. mine office said. So far, the U.N. team, which is still working at the site, has found more than 500 pieces of ordnance.
The New Zealand military said it cleaned up its range but declined to give the ranges coordinates, Hartley said. Local officials in Bamiyan said the site in question was indeed the New Zealand range, Rashid said.
The unexploded munitions found include 40mm high-explosive grenades, hand grenades, mortar rounds and other shells that are clearly of NATO origin, he said.
Other items are of Soviet or Chinese origin and may date to the earlier conflicts in Afghanistan.
In meetings, ISAF officials have failed to give the locations of firing ranges on the closed bases, what methods they used to clean them up or where fighting took place that inevitably would have left other unexploded ordnance behind, Marshall said.
If the U.N. mine office knew the pertinent locations, it could not only do surveys of the ordnance, but also educate locals on the dangers, she said.
Marshall said that ISAF has done little more than dodge blame and offer excuses when confronted with the U.N. findings. International coalition officials insist theyve cleaned up the abandoned bases properly, but they offer no proof and blame deaths and injuries on leftovers from earlier wars, she said. Marshall also said ISAF officials dispute the U.N. casualty data and argue about the location of some the incidents, saying the U.N. couldnt prove they were on ranges or in proximity to bases.
She said one American colonel even suggested that Afghan children had moved non-NATO ordnance onto a NATO firing range, where it then detonated. U.S. officials did not address her charge.
ISAF officials said that since many bases are turned over to Afghan security forces that need firing ranges, it makes no sense to clean them up, Hartley said.
Thats logical, she said, but ISAF also has used that explanation for a failure to dispose of unexploded ordnance at bases that were simply demolished and turned into, say, farmland.
The biggest question I have, is where are ISAFs (cleanup) reports? Hartley said. Instead of discrediting my data, prove to me that youve done the clearance and due diligence. I can give you statistics for every minefield that has been cleared this year, so why cant ISAF say how many square meters of firing range it has cleared, how many items it found, and what its process was for signing off on the work?