Afghanistan is now one step closer to being free of explosive ordnance. As of May 2023, HALO has safely disposed of over 5,000 IEDs in Afghanistan since starting work in 2018.
Since 2021, IEDs and explosive remnants of war (ERW) have tragically accounted for ten times more fatalities than conventional landmines. IEDs, often consisting of homemade concoctions of nails, glass, metal, and explosives, mirror the function of traditional landmines. Their improvised and inconsistent nature, however, makes the process of their disposal far more complex.
HALO has cleared over 130 hectares of residential land and over 500 hectares of agricultural land. This enables refugees to return home, farmers to resume work, and communities to reclaim their land - free from the fear of fatal explosives.
With 95% of Afghanistan's population facing food insecurity, the liberation of agricultural land is a critical component in this resource-scarce country. The cleared land not only empowers communities to become self-sufficient but also breathes life back into regions scarred by decades of conflict.
The looming threat of IEDs has led to the closure of numerous clinics and schools, leaving communities deprived of essential healthcare and education. To date, HALO has made three clinics and 14 schools safe, positively affecting the lives of thousands every day.
Restoring infrastructure is crucial after conflict. HALO’s removal of IEDs along roads and major highways ensures safe travel for community members. This work improves community living conditions and facilitates the work of other humanitarian organizations, who often struggle to operate in hazardous areas assisting the country's most vulnerable people.
While the eradication of over 5,000 IEDs across Afghanistan is a noteworthy milestone, it is vital to understand the colossal task that still lies ahead. An estimated 9,000 hectares of IED-contaminated land remains, a figure likely to increase as surveillance expands. As the country's largest land clearance organization, HALO remains steadfast in its mission for a safer future for all Afghan people.
To further this mission, HALO has provided additional mechanical IED clearance training to eight mine action operators within Afghanistan, reinforcing its commitment to eliminating the explosive remnants of war and bringing peace to the beleaguered nation.