Murphy's Law: Delighting Demobilized Deminers

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May 26,2008: The $300 million, 19 year old demining effort in Afghanistan is coming to an end. Most of it was paid for by the United States, which is also paying for a retraining program for deminers who no longer have work. In many parts of Afghanistan, all the explosive stuff has been cleared, and many of the deminers don't want to move to another part of the country to continue their work. That can be dangerous given all the tribal and religious animosities, not to mention the bandits and Taliban.

The demobilized deminers are given training mainly in the building trades (carpenters, painters, plumbers, electricians, and masons.) Having been a deminer is a splendid resume enhancer in Afghanistan, so these men should have little trouble getting in on the building boom that is currently sweeping the country.

The demining effort, using nearly 9,000 demining personnel (nearly all of them Afghans) have removed over 330,000 anti-personnel mines, over 19,000 anti-tank mines and over seven million pieces of unexploded ordnance (shells, grenades). The demining effort should be finished in another four years.

 


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