Exodus starts Kurd panic
"We may have to close," said Roger Briottet, director of the Mines Advisory Group (MAG), a British-based agency which is helping to clear the 10 to 20 million mines laid in Kurdistan during the Iran-Iraq war. These have already killed more than 2,000 people in the last five years. Mr Briottet said: "The 500 local people we employ are very frightened since the US decided to evacuate."
An equally serious problem is that Turkey has closed its border to people and equipment crossing into northern Iraq. Turkey says restrictions have been imposed because of concern about the activities of some aid organisations.
Mr Briottet says MAG has not been able to send mine experts or mine detectors into northern Iraq. The specialists it already has there - mainly former British army experts - are becoming exhausted and detectors already in place are too old to use safely. Turkey will not allow mine detectors into Iraq because they are regarded as military equipment.
During the eight years of the Iran-Iraq war more than 2,200 minefields were laid in Iraqi Kurdistan, mostly along the border with Iran.
In the aftermath of the Gulf war, the Kurdish uprising in 1991 and the withdrawal of Iraqi government forces from its three northern provinces, Western aid agencies moved in strength into Kurdistan. They are seen by Baghdad as foreign intruders who imperilled Iraqi sovereignty.
Kurds and Iraqis who work for foreign agencies in Kurdistan have been deeply worried that Saddam Hussein will return permanently to the region after his successful intervention in the Kurdish civil war at the end of August. They believe they will then be singled out for punishment. The US has already evacuated 2,700 Iraqis and Kurds who worked directly or indirectly for the US government.
Britain and other European countries have refused to allow immigration by Iraqis associated with their aid programmes.
- 1 Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
- 2 UK pirates will get four warning letters a year
- 4 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 5 Israel-Gaza conflict: Deadly flechette shells 'used by Israeli military in Gaza Strip’
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...
Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...
£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...
£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire