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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Scots charity clears up the deadly legacy of war

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​UK minister meets Scottish charity's workers who are helping Afghan communities rebuild

A Scottish charity has been praised for its work in removing land mines in Afghanistan.

The Halo Trust has been getting rid of the explosive remnants of war so that communities can safely use their land to grow food and build businesses.

International development secretary Priti Patel saw first-hand the good the charity has done when she visited one of its training facilities in Afghanistan recently.

There, Halo Trust staff learn to identify and safely remove mines and save lives.

Halo workers also identify and map the location of mines for disposal, as well as educating communities and children on the dangers of unexploded ordnance.

Patel said: “Land contaminated by mines is a lethal and insidious legacy that also deprives Afghans of the chance to use their land to grow food, build businesses or for children to play.

“Women play a unique role in reaching out to their communities to warn them about unexploded ordnance that could leave people maimed or worse.

“That’s why we are working with Halo to increase the number of women working in mine action activities and to recognise that Afghan women are essential in building the stability and security of their country.

“I praise Scottish organisations like Halo Trust who are making a vital contribution to the UK’s work to boost global security and prosperity, by saving lives in Afghanistan and enabling communities to live and develop without fear.”

James Cowan, chief executive of the Halo Trust, said: "Halo has been clearing landmines and other explosive remnants of war in Afghanistan for more than quarter of a century.

“We’ve weathered every change of regime and have cleared huge swathes of territory there – over 114,657 hectares – destroying almost 800,000 mines in the process.

“With the support of the UK, and other donor governments, our work makes land safe so that it can be used for agriculture and grazing again, as well as for new infrastructure."