HALO’s humanitarian mineclearance project in Afghanistan remains the oldest and largest in the world.
HALO introduced to the world the concept of humanitarian mineclearance in 1988 and has continued clearing mines in Afghanistan despite the fragile political situation bought on by the continuous conflict that has beleaguered the country since the late 1970s. Over the last 20 years the program has developed from two teams up to its current size of 150 teams. HALO policy in Afghanistan has been based on adherence to principles of good governance and recruiting a multi-ethnic workforce, and this has played a large part in guaranteeing HALO’s freedom of movement in the Central and Northern regions of Afghanistan. It has also enabled HALO to work more or less without interference since 1988, regardless of the regime in power.
Between 1988 and 2011, HALO Afghanistan destroyed over 761,063 mines (220,063 emplaced mines and 541,000 stockpiled mines), 10 million items of large calibre ammunition and 45.6 million bullets.
HALO Afghanistan currently has an operational capacity employing over 3,200 Afghans, and runs a mixture of manual, mechanical, survey/EOD, battle area clearance (BAC) and weapon and ammunition disposal (WAD) teams. HALO’s current area of operations, excluding the WAD teams who work in every region of the country, is in nine provinces of the Northern and Central regions and Herat Province in the west of the country. The organization is dedicated to building a local capacity and nowhere is this better exemplified than in Afghanistan where our 3,200 Afghan staff are managed by Afghans, with assistance from just 2 expatriate staff. HALO also continues to be the largest implementing agency of the Mine Action Program for Afghanistan (MAPA).