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NZDF Detonate Unexploded Ordnance Near Buddha

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New Zealand Defence Force Te Ope Kaatua O Aotearoa

Media Statement

4 May 2008

NZ Defence Force Safely Detonate Unexploded Ordnance Near Bamyan Buddha

On the 1st of May bomb disposal experts within the New Zealand Defence Force Provincial Reconstruction Team (NZPRT) were tasked by Disarmament of Illegally Armed Groups (DIAG) to safely detonate an unexploded rocket in the vicinity of the Bamyan Buddha statues in Bamyan Township.

The 85mm high explosive anti-tank rocket was part of an unexploded ordnance cache found at the site reported to NZPRT members on 30 April.

Located approximately 50m to the right of the small Buddha, the rocket was buried at the foot of a bank which was a further 20m down the slope and was deemed too unsafe to transport away from the location or leave without attention.

Due to its vicinity to the historic site the detonation was delayed so key people could be informed of the need to dispose the rocket in situ.

The Governor of the Province Habiba Sorabi, UN organisations and agencies and local police authorities were advised of the task.

The next day (1 May), the explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) team following correct operating procedures detonated the rocket. A cordon was provided by local Afghani police whilst the disposal took place.

In conducting the demolition, fifteen full sandbags were placed onto the rocket to absorb blast and fragmentation. Post blast inspection revealed a crater approximately 400mm in diameter and 150mm deep. It was considered highly unlikely that the ordnance could have inflicted any damage to the surrounding area.

Further site inspections by Commander of the NZPRT Colonel Darryl Tracy and Head of the UN Mission in Bamyan concluded there had been no damage to the Buddha.

ENDS

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