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Mines from Iraq-Iran war continue to threaten Kurdistan’s Penjwen

Penjwen, a small town in Iraqi Kurdistan, is known for its picturesque landscapes and ancient history, but beneath the surface of its beauty lies a devastating reality. The town is still plagued by landmines and unexploded ordnance that were planted during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. These deadly weapons remain a threat to the residents of Penjwen, even two decades after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime. The presence of landmines has caused countless casualties and serious injuries, and has had a profound impact on the daily lives of those living in the area, particularly shepherds, foragers, and farmers. Despite ongoing efforts to remove the mines, the process has been slow and the danger persists. This issue highlights the long-lasting impact of conflict and the urgent need for continued efforts to address the ongoing threat of landmines in conflict-affected areas.

“I have vivid memories of a distressing sight from my childhood when a sack filled with body parts was brought to the mosque near our home. The sounds of their grieving children and loved ones still echo in my mind”, Bandan says. 

Photos: Bandan Atta/Metrography