What it Means to Demine in Ukraine and Afghanistan
What it Means to Demine in Ukraine and Afghanistan

What it Means to Demine in Ukraine and Afghanistan

This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker talks to James Cowan, CEO of The HALO Trust, a charitable organisation which removes landmines, explosives, and other debris left behind by war. They discuss the impact of landmines on lives around the world, how HALO works to remove ordnance, and James’ recent visits to Ukraine and Afghanistan.

Landmines remain a tool of warfare around the world. Yet both during and after fighting, they wreak havoc not just on adversaries, but also on the civilian population. In mined areas, everyday activities such as farming crops or going to school are fraught with risk. In Ukraine, after eight years of conflict, landmines have long threatened civilians in the Donbas. Now, in the wake of Russia’s February invasion, the problem affects far more of the country. In Afghanistan, meanwhile, though the fighting has largely ended, explosive devices remain in place, making schools, homes, roads and fields hazardous. Families often face the difficult choice between farming dangerous land or going hungry.

This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker talks to James Cowan, CEO of landmine clearance charity The HALO Trust, about the impact of unexploded ordnance and the challenges of mitigating its risks. James recounts what he saw on recent trips to Ukraine and Afghanistan, describes some of the dangers people face daily as a result of leftover explosives. They discuss the challenges of mine and ordnance clearance in Ukraine. They talk about James’ meetings with Taliban leaders and the pressing need to clear mines on agricultural land amid the country’s growing food crisis. They also discuss the gendered effects of landmines, shelling and war more generally.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

For more about the situations in Ukraine and Afghanistan, make sure to check out Crisis Group’s Ukraine and Afghanistan country pages.

Contributors

Program Director, Europe and Central Asia
OlyaOliker
James Cowan
CEO, The HALO Trust