Protect Families in Afghanistan

by The HALO Trust
Protect Families in Afghanistan
Protect Families in Afghanistan
Protect Families in Afghanistan
Protect Families in Afghanistan
Protect Families in Afghanistan
Protect Families in Afghanistan
Ahmad's twin daughters near the grocery store he o
Ahmad's twin daughters near the grocery store he o

The generosity of our supporters is truly making a difference for families in Afghanistan. In 2021, HALO teams in Afghanistan cleared 26,041,881 square meters of land across 24 provinces, making land safe for nearly 800,000 Afghans by destroying 134,021 landmines and explosive items and 443 abandoned IEDs. We could not do this life-saving work without our supporters at GlobalGiving – thank you!

Many families living in Afghanistan rely on farming, but landmines make this very risky. Agha, a village chief in Afghanistan told us, ‘We cannot plant our wheat. We cannot feed our families. The land should feed us, but it is killing us.’

Clearance of these deadly explosives not only saves lives, but it also transforms communities.

Ahmad* and his wife live in Balkh province with their three daughters and two sons. Ahmad spoke to us about what life was like before HALO cleared the land in his village.

Ahmad: ‘Our neighbor had a guest from Kabul visiting. He went out together with some other boys and they found an unexploded mortar while they were playing. They tried to open it up, and unfortunately, the mortar exploded. One of the boys died and the two other boys got serious injuries. I will never forget that bad accident.

We are thankful to HALO Trust for clearance of contaminated areas and for providing information regarding the dangers of unexploded mines and ammunition… we [now] collect firewood and sell the firewood in the market. HALO Trust has provided the opportunity for us to get all the benefits.’

When asked who benefits from the land that has been cleared, Ahmad emphasized that all residents – men, women, boys, and girls – benefit from the cleared land.

Ahmad: ‘People established firms in the area and use the area for grazing and for gathering firewood and bushes. Most of the people sell the firewood and bushes for their livelihood. All of the residents use the area equally. The women mostly keep sheep, cows, and chicken. Everyone uses the cleared areas.’

Ahmad’s biggest hope is that others across Afghanistan will also benefit from clearance.

Ahmad: ‘We hope that all the districts of Afghanistan will become free of mines and any other dangerous materials, as our district did.’

*Names have been changed to protect identity

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Families in Afghanistan want to return home, but explosives laid in the recent fighting are making the path home too dangerous. Read Aashir's story, and see how your support is making a difference by clearing the IEDs in their community:

Aashir* lives in Helmand Province, near Lashkar Gah City. During the devastating fight for control of Afghanistan earlier this year, his village became an attacking point towards the capital, and he was forced to flee with his family. 

"My name is Aashir. I am 53 years old. There are eight people in my family altogether. I grew up in a remote village where there weren’t many opportunities, so we moved to Helmand Province—near Lashkar Gah City—and we have lived here for 15 years. I support my family with the earnings from my store and from casual labor.

At the end of 2020, when the conflict intensified between the Taliban and the Ex-government, we were forced to leave our home. Our village was used as an attacking point towards the capital. When the fighting ended about three months ago, we returned but our homes and streets had all been contaminated with landmines and explosives. We couldn't connect to other roads or reach places like school, the market, and our land. Some local stores and businesses couldn't operate as before.

About 105 families were affected. It was worst for the children—their parents were so worried about all the accidents in the area that they weren’t able to go to school and continue their education. People were so desperate to return home that there were accidents. The doctor lost her legs in an explosion and one of my neighbors was killed.

The HALO Trust came to teach us about the explosives and landmines and how to stay safe from accidents. Then they cleared the land, so we were able to access our livelihoods.

People feel safer now—they can live in their homes without restrictions. Before, the children were forced to take long detours to get to school. Residents were having to walk long distances to fetch clean water. Now they can meet their daily needs and pass through the cleared area without fear. We are very happy that HALO cleared the land so we can use it for essential needs without the risk of an explosion. I would like to thank HALO for clearing the mines in our country and village, enabling us to have safe access to our lands and livelihoods again.

For the future, I hope for security and peace in our country and village so that there is no more poverty and despair."

Aashir, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, November 2021.

*Names have been changed to protect people's identity.

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We are so grateful for the continued support of our donors. Your donations will allow HALO to continue clearing unexploded ordnance that threatens the lives of displaced families.

Amidst the uncertainty in August and September, HALO was able to keep its staff safe. More widely, over 550,000 people were forced to flee their homes due to conflict this year (OCHA). According to UNHCR, this means that a total of around 3.5 million Afghans have been forced from their homes.

Recent conflict has littered land, roads, and access routes with explosives, such as improvised devices and unexploded ordnance, threatening the lives of civilians and preventing aid from reaching those in need. The human toll is immense. Internally displaced families are at high risk of accidents as they often lack information to identify areas which contain unexploded ordnance and minefields. Clearance of these explosives is crucial to reduce civilian accidents, to break the cycle of instability, and allow communities to effectively begin recovering.

We are excited to share that in September, HALO returned to work, deploying 1,400 members of staff (over half of our workforce) to continue our lifesaving operations across 12 provinces in Afghanistan.

Clearing explosive hazards helps internally displaced families return to their homes, allows farmers to safely grow food on their land, and ensures children can live and play safely.

By supporting this project, not only are you saving lives now, but you're providing security for families and allowing them to rebuild – thank you!

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Organization Information

The HALO Trust

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @HALOTrustUSA
Project Leader:
Lisa Balestrieri
Washington, DC United States
$748 raised of $50,000 goal
10 donations
$49,252 to go
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