Thousands of lives saved as Herat cleared of landmines

Herat was among the provinces heavily infested by tens of thousands of landmines and unexploded ordnances. (Courtesy photo)
Updated 18 February 2018

Thousands of lives saved as Herat cleared of landmines

KABUL: Clearance of landmines from Herat after 40 years is nearing completion and was hailed by Afghan provincial authorities on Saturday as a remarkable life-saving work and “great news” for the people of the city.
Halo Trust, which has a long history of demining in Afghanistan, announced on Feb. 15 that 14 out of the 16 districts in Herat are safe following the completion of 10-year-long clearance operations by the UK-funded organization.
“This is certainly great news for the people of Herat,” said a spokesman for the governor of Herat.
Talking to Arab News, he said: “The public’s concern has been addressed. We had a ceremony marking the announcement that there is no danger to the lives of people from landmines and unexploded ordinance in those areas.”
The official added: “Thousands of kilograms of (explosive) materials were removed and destroyed. If one kilogram could kill at least one person then the number of lives saved amounts to thousands.”
Abdul Latif Rahimi, a senior operational officer for the Halo Trust, said: “The remaining two remote districts of Gulran and Shindand have not been cleared yet because of poor security and presence of militants in the area.”
Before Halo Trust began its operations in 2008, Herat was among the provinces heavily infested by tens of thousands of landmines and unexploded ordnance including missiles and aircraft bombs — the legacy of 40 years of war — Rahimi said.
“We have cleared some 96 million square meters of area in Herat of 645,117 mines, bombs, rockets and bullets in the past 10 years,” he told Arab News.
Fortunately, given the huge area cleared, the Halo Trust lost none of its employees while unearthing the explosives, he said.
But it lost six of its staff in an abduction incident in the province.
Authorities in Herat said one of the cleared sites is being used to house tens of thousands of Afghan refugees.


3 funeral workers fired over Maradona coffin photos

Updated 27 November 2020

3 funeral workers fired over Maradona coffin photos

  • The images distributed across social media have created outrage, even death threats, across a nation that venerated Maradona
  • Claudio Fernández confirmed that he’d lost his job at the Pinier funeral home, along with his son Ismael and Claudio Medina

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina: Three funeral workers have been fired for posing for photos alongside the body of soccer star Diego Maradona shortly before his funeral.
The images distributed across social media created outrage, even death threats, across a nation that venerated Maradona, who died Wednesday of a heart attack at age 60. Tens of thousands lined up for a chance to file past his body at the nation’s presidential palace on Thursday.
Claudio Fernández confirmed to Radio Diez on Friday that he’d lost his job at the Pinier funeral home, along with his son Ismael and Claudio Medina.
One of the images shows Fernández and his son — smiling and with thumb raised — alongside Maradona’s body in the coffin on Thursday. Medina appears in another in the same pose.
Fernández insisted that he hadn’t known they’d planned to take a photograph, much less distribute it. “It was something instantaneous. I’d just raised my head and my son did it like any kid of 18,” he told the radio station.
He said he had been receiving threats from others living in the El Paternal neighborhood where Maradona debuted as a professional in 1976 with the Argentinos Juniors team.
“They know me. I’m from the neighborhood,” Fernández said. “They say they are going to kill us, break our heads.”
The team issued a statement saying it was considering expelling Fernández from its membership rolls.