Landmines in Afghanistan: A Decades Old Danger
Afghanistan is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world. These landmines are not just from the Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighting US and coalition forces. Many are left over from the Soviet occupation of the country from 1979 to 1989.
There are an estimated 100,000 landmines in Afghanistan. They pose a risk not only to US and coalition forces, but civilian Afghanis as well. Several international organizations, such as the UN Mine Action Centre for Afghanistan, have been working to clear the mines for decades. A video by filmaker Oliver Englehart provides a compelling view of a landmine clearing team.
The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has been working to clear landmines from Afghanistan since Operation Enduring Freedom began. The USACE uses a combination of US soldiers and contractors to perform the work. The USACE’s Engineering and Support Center in Huntsville, AL, recently awarded a contract worth up to $60 million to EOD Technology (EODT) in Lenoir City, TN, to clear mines and battlefield areas…
Under the contract announced Feb 1/10, EODT will provide clearance of munitions and explosives of concern, including landmines and unexploded munitions throughout Afghanistan. EODT has provided mine clearing, security services, and expeditionary services in Afghanistan since 2004.
On Aug 3/09, EODT received a 5-month, $2.4 million contract to provide mine clearing services in Afghanistan’s Logar Province for the British forces there.
As part of this contract, EODT is conducting a technical survey of more than 1,100 acres of land, providing mine clearing services for 374 acres, and conducting a battlefield area clearance of 150 acres. This contract award follows 2 previous awards won in 2009 in support of British forces in Afghanistan for technical survey and landmine clearance services.
EODT is employing more than 100 local Afghan deminers supported by teams of mine detection dogs to complete the project.