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Ubiquitous blasts prompted me into demining: Afghanmal

Ubiquitous blasts prompted me into demining: Afghanmal

Jul 01, 2017 - 10:17

KANDAHAR (Pajhwok): A police officer in southern Kandahar province has defused more than 10,000 landmines, thereby saving thousands of lives.

1st Lt. Sirajuddin Afghanmal has been serving in Zherai, Panjwai and Maiwand districts of Kandahar over the past 12 years.

Afghanmal’s job is onerous and different from that of his colleagues, as he detects and defuses bombs without having any advanced tools.

He has only one mine detector, a pair of scissors and a bayonet for demining operations. The 35 years old, in exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, said he had been serving in the police force for 12 years.

The official, who started demining operations eight years ago, has defused more than 10,000 landmines so far.

Afghanmal thought of demining after the Panjwai district of Kandahar was infested with landmines by Talibaninfo-icon militants.

“I have been witness to the daily killing of security forces, civilians, womeninfo-icon, children and youth by Taliban-planted bombs. I have seen how the innocent people were blown to bits,” he said.

He could not tolerate the painful killing of the people and thus felt obliged to take risk and take up a dangerous assignment.

Afghanmal has also received basic training from professional foreigners but his personal experience is also pretty vast. Even foreign forces have sought his advice.

“I don’t have protective clothing to wear during demining operations. Instead I use a mine detector, a bayonet for pulling out the bomb and scissors for cutting wires,” he said.

However, he added the mine detector he used was unable to find some types of landmines built by Taliban. The rebels have changed bomb making techniques so they could not be found with mine detectors.

The militants bring explosives from Pakistaninfo-icon and other countries. They are use in making bombs with the help of plastic cans, bottles, dishes and other things.

He claimed having become an expert in the field. He can sense the existence of a planted bomb even without using the mine detector.

Due to his extraordinary experience, people and officials often call Afghanmal to address relevant issues. He performs his job courageously, believing life and death are in Allah’s hands.

Afghanmal said he had escaped unhurt in many incidents as a result of people’s prayers. “I have detected and defused mines on roads, in houses, gardens, mosques and other areas.

“I have helped save the lives of many people. Naturally, they would pray for me in return,” he said, adding his demining efforts had made him a strong enemy of militants.

“Militants repeatedly attempted to kill me, but failed. They even warned me over walkie-talkie to stop demining, but their threat can’t affect my morale. I will continue saving people’s lives until my death,” he vowed.

He has many bitter memories, including the killing of a friend by the bomb he was defusing in Panjwai.

Afghanmal, having a son and two daughters; hopes his children would get educated and serve their country. “My job is a kind of worship, and that’s why I don’t whine about a small salary.”

However, he complained about the late payment of salaries. The police officer asked senior government officials to care about the lives of security forces as they were the pillars of a stable system.

“I have received many appreciation letters from my seniors.” He particularly thanked the Kandahar police chief, who encouraged him with extra cash payments, and in other ways.

He also urged the government to train more youth on demining and provide them equipment and facilities for mine-clearing campaigns.

Roadside bombs are a weapon of choice for militant groups against the Afghan security forces and civilians.


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