During their military career the Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers attend different kinds of courses, starting from weapon handling and body searching to providing first aid. Strong training enables soldiers to specialise in certain areas. One of them is clearing improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
In Kandahar province, the mine clearing training was started by the international forces, but now is conducted independently by Afghan instructors. Current training of 205th ANA Hero Corps soldiers was also conducted by Afghans.
The training is carried out in groups, who train with buried, incapacitated explosives dotted around a fixed area with the guidance of an instructor. In the future these teams will join the skilled minesweeper units who are already conducting their operations around Kandahar.
“The work is going on in Panjwai, Ghorak, Shorabak and other districts of Kandahar. Our assessment is that around 85 per cent of Kandahar province has already been cleared of IEDs,” said Javid Faisal, provincial governor’s spokesperson.
The IEDs, built and planted by the insurgents, are a real danger to the people, especially for young children who are curious and pick things up from the ground.
“When the insurgents don’t have the strength to fight against ANSF or enough courage to lay down their weapons and join the peace process, their only option is planting these mines that kill innocent people,” said Brigadier General Abdul Hamid. “Our clearing operations will continue as long as needed, and I’m sure we are fully able to protect people.”
Abdul Rahman is one of the ANA soldiers trained to clear IEDs. He said he was happy to have this valuable skill that can save lives. “I have been learning all the relevant information about mines, and I know how to use the detector. Now I’m prepared to go to the field.”