Report: Afghanistan 13-April-2004

We shot 40 hours of footage during three weeks in and around Kabul, Afghanistan in late March and early April 2004.

Some of the footage we now have includes:

- Numerous visits with several demining NGOs to a variety of minefield clearance operations in different terrain, including Kabul neighbourhoods and a power plant;

- The first-known real-time use of a helmet camera and microphone that lets you experience what its like to be a deminer;

- Former Northern Alliance commanders talking about laying thousands of mines in the Shomali plains north of Kabul, one of the most heavily mined parts of the country where the return of thousands of former inhabitants is delayed and endangered by the presence of uncleared landmines and unexploded ordnance;

- Testimony by Kuchi shepherds who have watched Soviet and Northern Alliance forces mine their land multiple times and who are critical of demining NGOs for the lengthy delay in removing the mines and of coalition forces for denying them access to medical care;

- Iranian mines manufactured in 1998, 1999, and 2000 as they are unearthed and destroyed by deminers;

- Demining group leaders showing their equipment and tools, including huge excavation machines;

- Mine detection dogs at work and puppies in training for this dangerous profession;

- Deminers working at Kabul's international airport as planes laid meters away from them;

- Interviews with Dr. Alberto Cairo, a fifteen-year veteran of the extensive Red Cross rehabilitation operation in Afghanistan, and surgeon Dr. Gino Strada, founder of the Italian humanitarian NGO "Emergency;
- Patients, both male and female, receiving treatment for mine injuries from clinic workers that were once patients in the same clinic;

- A fiercely competitive bicycle race by amputees in Kabul's central stadium, scene of horrifying executions during the Taliban era;

- The melting of stockpiled POMZ mines in a furnace for subsequent re-use as Kabul's man-hole covers;

- Amputee beggers in the street filmed by time lapse;

- Canadian, French and Italian ISAF peacekeepers talking about their experience of the landmine problem.