A 32-year-old private of the Artsakh Army was killed late Monday evening from a landmine explosion, the Artsakh Defense Ministry reported Tuesday.
Taron Poghosyan was killed at 7:05 p.m. local time after a landmine exploded at a defense post in a military unit in southern Artsakh, the ministry said.
While the specifics of the incident are being investigated, this incident brings the urgency of de-mining Artsakh to the forefront. An effort being spearheaded by the Armenian National Committee of America and its thousands of grass-roots activists is called on the administration to continue funding humanitarian efforts in Artsakh, the bulk of which are earmarked for de-mining efforts carried by The HALO Trust.
Last week, more than 30 Senators joined some 75 U.S. Representatives in seeking increased Fiscal Year 2021 Artsakh funding for The HALO Trust’s de-mining efforts and much-needed rehabilitation services, like those provided by the Lady Cox Rehabilitation Center, reported the ANCA.
U.S. funding for the effort ended this year, with the administration reluctant to renew the assistance.
A letter signed by the senators and circulated by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Foreign Relations Committee, calls on the bipartisan leadership of the Appropriations Committee to mandate at least $1.5 million in FY21 assistance for U.S. humanitarian programs in Artsakh. This humanitarian aid program, long under attack by Azerbaijan’s Aliyev regime, has been aggressively targeted by the Trump Administration, even as it ramps up U.S. defense and security aid to Baku.
Last month, Rob Syfret, The HALO Trust’s Program Manager in Nagorno Karabakh and Amasia Zargarian, the Grants & Development Manager, of The HALO Trust USA told Asbarez Editor Ara Khachatourian, in an exclusive video interview, about the challenges facing the organization during the COVID-19 global crisis, as well as highlighted the important inroads HALO has made in de-mining Artsakh throughout the years.
The two HALO officials stressed the importance of the U.S. funding for the project and the ramifications on the efforts in the the program is defunded.