Peace Time: January 9, 2003


This lesson bears repeating - battlefields are notoriously messy places, even after the shooting has stopped. During 2002, sapper units from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Peacekeeping Forces in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict zone found and destroyed about 5,000 pieces of unexploded ordnance (UXO). By itself, this is a relatively small quantity of UXO. However, it illustrates the residual costs of the small but nasty ethnic feuds boiling over since the end of the Cold War. The 1992-93 Georgian-Abkhaz war was fought with unsophisticated Soviet surplus weaponry, but cleaning up living spaces and farmland can be technically challenging. Since peacekeepers were stationed there in June 1994, field engineer units have found and disarmed over 27,000 mines, unexploded artillery shells and makeshift explosive devices. - Adam Geibel


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