Peter Reipold

According to Walsh and Walsh, approximately 15,000 to 25,000 people are killed by the world’s almost 110 million active mines. Additionally, there are also many other types of unexploded bombs and stockpiles of these and other types of weapons that pose extreme danger to the civilian population. The The Halo Trust is a British NGO that was established in 1988 with the goal of addressing the issues of landmines and other unexploded ordinances as well as the destruction of stockpiles of mines, small arms, and ammunition. They have operation all around the globe from Cambodia to Colombia; both in former conflict zones (such as Angola) and current conflict zones (such as Afghanistan).

Demining in Afganistan.

Demining in Afghanistan.

The organization has had a significant impact on the areas that it has operated in, taking over part of the government role of protecting civilians. In the case of Afghanistan the removal of mines and other unexploded devices has a major effect on the citizens of the conflict allowing them some level of normalcy. For example, according to Human Rights Watch, the United States dropped cluster bombs on several Afghan villages when they were part of the front line, and some of these did not explode and thus posed a danger to the villagers and limited their ability to rebuild. The Halo Trust was able to remove some of the explosives allowing for the people to resume activities. Aside from it’s impact on the citizens, mine removal has a substantial effect of the US operations. It can help win over the ‘hearts and minds’ of the citizens should it actually prove to help them. However, they can also allow the US to use more dangerous types of munitions (such as cluster bombs), as they have someone who will take care of it for them, so there would be less concern about the effects of possible action.

 

Citations:

Walsh, Nicholas E., and Wendy S. Walsh. “Rehabilitation of Landmine Victims — the Ultimate Challenge.” Bulletin of the World Health Organization (2003). WHO. World Health Organization. Web. 28 Nov. 2014. <http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/81/9/Walsh.pdf&gt;.

Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch United States/ Afghnistan Fatally Flawed: Cluster Bombs and Their Use by the United States in Afghanistan. Human Rights Watch. Web. 28 Nov. 2014.

Image Source:

Halo Trust. Afghan Deminer Using an Ebinger 420H in the Ghorband Valley. The HALO Trust. Web. 28 Nov. 2014.

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