By Nigel Gillies

SAPPERS from 26 Engineer Regiment (26RE) from Ludgershall have been following up the success of other soldiers from the Bulford based 12 Mechanised Brigade in Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan with a programme to raise awareness of the dangers of landmines.

The British Commander of NATO's Task Force Helmand, Brigadier John Lorimer, who is also commander of 12 Mech Bde, said : "We have managed to clear the areas that we wished to clear and we also have now engaged with the local nationals, with the tribal elders, and we're helping bring reconstruction and development."

British Forces have now begun the task of assisting the Afghan government in their reconstruction and development programmes including infrastructure projects to allow Afghanis to return to their villages and farmlands to begin a new life.

Eliminating the threat of landmines is essential to the revival of the Afghan economy, and to safeguarding the lives of the Afghan men who support their families by working the land in the mined areas. Landmines have been used indiscriminately in Afghanistan since the arrival of Soviet Forces in 1979 and are still used by the Taliban against British, other NATO and Afghan Forces.

As a result, hundreds of thousands of mines lie unmapped and undiscovered in large areas of the country, making Afghanistan the most mined country in the world.

After receiving training from the Ludgershall Sappers, Afghan soldiers took the lead at the special landmine awareness day to show children the types of mines that litter the Afghan countryside and how to mark and report them.