The Danish Refugee Council strongly condemns the killing of ten deminers working in HALO Trust in Afghanistan’s Baghlan province on 8 June, 2021.
The deminers were among a team residing and working in a demining camp in New Baghlan district, operated by the HALO Trust. At least 16 others have been injured, some seriously. This horrific attack comes at a time when Afghanistan is experiencing challenges and hardship on so many levels – protracted conflict, recurring drought, and the recently heightened risk of the COVID-19 pandemic’s third wave spreading rapidly across the country. The very nature of protracted war and insecurity has been the underpinning reason for the presence and work of HALO Trust and DRC’s Humanitarian Disarmament and Peacebuilding Sector, for several decades.
“Today we stand in solidarity with the HALO Trust and express our deepest condolences to the families and colleagues of those killed and wish the injured demining team members a speedy recovery. We are all committed to continue to work with communities towards our collective goal of a mine-free Afghanistan,” said Charlotte Slente, DRC’s Secretary General.
“The people of Afghanistan have been grappling with the hazards of their land being contaminated by landmines, unexploded ammunition and explosive remnants of war over decades. These are terrible legacies of war upon war, making the country one of the world’s most contaminated in terms of landmines. Organisations such as the HALO Trust and DRC’s Disarmament and Peacebuilding Sector in Afghanistan, have been working tirelessly and selflessly to make sure communities are safe from the risks. They must not be targets of such horrific attacks,” said Charlotte Slente, DRC’s Secretary General.
DRC’s Disarmament and Peacebuilding Sector, formerly known as the Danish Demining Group (DDG), has been implementing humanitarian mine action projects in Afghanistan since 1999. Together with other actors such as the HALO Trust, it works with communities across the country, with the sole objective of saving lives through humanitarian support.