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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Electronic Information and Publications Office > Photo Gallery > Photos by Regions and Topics > Political-Military Affairs > Events

Photos: Remnants of War Cleared from Afghanistan’s Devil's Garden

Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
Washington, DC
August 29, 2006

 

Clearance inside a collapsed house in Bagram. [The HALO Trust]

Clearance inside a collapsed house in Bagram. Houses that were damaged during the fighting that raged in this area were often mined or booby-trapped later, so the rubble could not be assumed to be free from danger. The deminer’s metal detector (propped next to him in the foreground) is useful for giving advance warning of any pieces of metal that could be hazardous items, but ultimately there is no getting around it – he is going to have to excavate that entire rubble heap using hand tools. The presence of booby traps and minimal-metallic mines can considerably increase the danger of an already challenging task to deminers such as these. It is for that humanitarian reason that the United States instituted an unprecedented ban on the use of all non-detectable anti-personnel and anti-vehicle (anti-tank) mines, beginning in January 2004, surpassing the provisions of Amended Protocol II of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, to which the United States is a Party, and the provisions of the Ottawa Convention ban on anti-personnel landmines.  [CREDIT: The HALO Trust]

Deminers employed by The HALO Trust in Bagram, Afghanistan, receive detailed instructions and safety reminders as they prepare for another day of landmine and UXO clearance. [The HALO Trust]

Deminers employed by The HALO Trust in Bagram, Afghanistan, receive detailed instructions and safety reminders in the morning as they prepare for another day of landmine and UXO clearance in the "Devil’s Garden." Nearly all of HALO’s deminers in Afghanistan are Afghans. The U.S. Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Demining Research and Development program successfully introduced the new HSTAMIDS mine detector into The HALO Trust’s operations in the Bagram area. It is also in operations with The HALO Trust in Cambodia. HSTAMIDS can be used by humanitarian deminers in a wide range of conditions. The system has demonstrated significant reductions in the number of "false positives" that confront deminers. HSTAMIDS detectors enable deminers to differentiate quickly between harmless metal fragments and dangerous landmines, and decrease the hard labor that currently consumes so much of their time and makes humanitarian mine clearance so expensive and slow.  [CREDIT: The HALO Trust]

An Afghan farmer tends to his field in safety, after it has been carefully cleared of persistent landmines, unexploded ordnance, and booby traps by The HALO Trust. [The HALO Trust]

An Afghan farmer tends to his field in safety, after it has been carefully cleared of persistent landmines, unexploded ordnance, and booby traps by The HALO Trust. Clearance of this particular site was made possible by the generous funding of Mr. George Begley, a private American citizen, and by his daughter Tracey Begley, through a matching grant in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement. Their philanthropic contributions exemplify the ability of concerned citizens to successfully reinforce the official humanitarian efforts of governments and international organizations, thereby speeding the rate at which landmines and UXO are removed, and peaceful, productive pursuits enabled once again. [CREDIT: The HALO Trust]

 

An Afghan farmer packages his grapes for shipping to markets in South Asia. His vineyard was once infested by assorted hidden killers before they were cleared by The HALO Trust deminers. [The HALO Trust]

An Afghan farmer packages his grapes for shipping to markets in South Asia. His vineyard was once infested by assorted "hidden killers" before they were cleared by The HALO Trust deminers under a grant from the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement. Other Bagram-area vineyards, formerly mined, were cleared by The HALO Trust through funding generously provided by Roots of Peace, a non-governmental mine action organization based in San Rafael, California that is also an Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement Public-Private Partner. Roots of Peace’s "Mines into Vines" approach involves not only clearing valuable agricultural of landmines, but in assisting farmers with tools, seeds, implements, and even marketing and refrigeration to get their produce to markets profitably. To learn more about Roots of Peace’s work in Afghanistan and other mine-affected countries, visit www.rootsofpeace.org. [CREDIT: The HALO Trust]


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