Afghanistan’s landmines threaten starvation as well as life and limb

As you drive along Afghanistan’s motorways, you have to deal with the culvert crater problem. In this mountainous country, prone to seasonal flash floods, most roads are undercut with drainage channels at 50-metre intervals.

For much of the past two decades the Taliban used these culverts to plant improvised explosive devices. Long stretches of Afghanistan’s motorways have chunks blown out of them every 50m, where the IEDs concealed in culverts targeted military vehicles.

In spring 2022 the roads are safe and in places local boys with wheelbarrows of sand collect small donations from passing drivers in return for filling in the worst of the craters. Yet an Afghan road trip is still an exercise involving hours of swerving and lurching around culvert craters.

Image: The National News/Halo Trust

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Source: The National News/Halo Trust