MINE DETECTION DOGS

1- The US Department of State initiated MDD mine clearance programMDD photos (3)

with ATC 1st April 07 onwards. At the beginning, seven new dogs were purchased and put on training under the supervision of highly qualified personnel from ATC and WRA.

The first Mine Dog Set funded by the U.S Department of State was deployed in early September this year. The mentioned set worked as a support with the DT No. 17 engaged in Kabul province. All the dogs were adequately trained and accredited by UNMACA. The training process has been done in Jalalabad city of Nangarhar Province, ATC training camp at Kabul and in the area designed for accreditation process in Chahar Asyab district of Kabul province.

ATC currently has 4 Mine Dog Sets (12 Mine Detection Dogs) accredited and ready for demining operations. The MDSs are currently under training in Nangarhar province.

Methodology of Using Mine Detection Dogs:
Mine Detection Dogs (MDDS) play an important role within MAPA.  The dogs are used as a primary de-mining tool; to clear mined-roads and detect mines/UXOs in minimum-metal and low-density mine contaminated areas. Dogs are also used in survey operations to determine/verify the presence of mines/UXOs in areas suspected of being mine-contaminated and to verify the boundaries of known minefields.  Dogs are also used in “special-tasks” and normal mine-dog mine clearance operations. The effective supervision of mine dog operations aims to clear the land in a secure and well-organized fashion.
 
Dog Health and ability check prior to work:
Mine searching operations by mine dogs needs a cautious assessment of some issues that might have an effect on the suitability of mine searching dogs, such as weather conditions, wind/breeze factors, rain/snow fall, vegetation density, etc.
A safe lane is a two meter-wide cleared lane that is prepared across the road minefield for the following reasons. If the wind direction changes, the work of the dogs can be adjusted easily.
 
Searching Requirements:MDD photos (4)
All areas, which have been searched and declared mine free, by at least 2 different dogs, are considered, cleared.  No personnel shall enter the minefield until it has been searched by at least two different mine dogs.
 
Wind Direction /Breeze Factor:
Two vital aspects in the use of mine dogs are the biological realities of a dog’s sense of smell and the movement of the air.  Winds and breezes move the smells and vapours from explosives that linger and saturate contaminated areas

EXPLOSIVE ORDNANCE DISPOSAL

In 1993, ATC contracted a British Bomb Disposal specialist to help clear bombs and rockets scattered all over Kabul City. A team of three men was able to work in Kabul City despite fighting which continued in some areas. This team dissolved in two newly established teams of EOD and later on these two teams upgraded to six EOD teams, which nowadays are busy in cleaning of Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) all over Afghanistan.
Render safe and destruction of aerial bombs, guided missiles and large unexploded ordnance etc. termed Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) by EOD teams using specialized tools such as bomb locater, de-armor, rocket wrench, ballistic-disk, Charge Linear Cutting (CLC) and plastic explosives and utilizing sand-bag protective works to prevent damage or destruction of buildings in built up areas.
 
Battle Area Clearance (BAC) Operation:
       
With intense fighting in Kabul and the evacuation of Kabulis to Jalalabad, ATC used its demining teams for battle area clearance in areas surrounding the internally displaced persons camp in Jalalabad in early 1994 and later returned once again for clearance operations in Kabul. ATC established a specific Battle Area Clearance (BAC) project in Kabul City in late 1995 to assist clearing the large amount of UXOs, which caused frequent accidents.
New BAC techniques that were developed and introduced to the program have been continued. ATC BAC teams specifically worked in Kabul till mid 1999. Now, all demining teams have completed cross training in BAC and are capable in dealing with UXO types up to 150 mm while not affecting the demining operations.

Statistics show that 50% of Mines/UXO incidents occur in the civilian population rather than military personnel.

Mechanical Demining

Machanical Demining  (4)

  • On 1st September 1990, ATC deployed two Mechanical Flail machines in the Urgoon district of Paktika province and continued to work in different parts of the country until early 1996. However, their activity halted in 1996 after an evaluation carried out in late 1995, which showed that it was not cost-effective.
  • A Mechanical Excavation Team (MET) using Backhoe Machine started operation on 20 May 1997 in residential areas of Kabul City. This involves excavating soil from residential areas and canals in minefields, which was a high-risk activity for manual deminers.  This method of demining has proved to be very effective to reduce casualties and build-up areas.

Continue reading Mechanical Demining

RISK EDUCATION

The term “mine risk education” (MRE) refers to “activities which
seek to reduce the risk of injury from mines and explosive remnants of war (ERWs) by raising awareness and promoting behavioral change, including public information dissemination, education and training.” Mine Risk Education (MRE) is one of the vital components of the Mine Action toolbox, used by the United Nations Mine Action Center for Afghanistan (UNMACA) to diminish Mine/UXO accidents and casualties. Continue reading RISK EDUCATION