On 21st April 2014 in Herat City, one of HALO Afghanistan’s UK Government DFID funded Herat EOD teams successfully defused a 30 year old 500kg Russian era aircraft-dropped blast bomb. The operation, to remove a very real and dangerous threat from the centre of a dense urban residential and commercial area, was made possible through humanitarian funding support from the UK Tax Payer.
During ground works, prior to the construction of a new residential building in central Herat city, a 500kg high explosive Soviet FAB500 AT blast aircraft bomb was unearthed and reported to the provincial authorities. It had lain hidden and dormant for over 30 years, an all too common legacy of conflict that has blighted Afghanistan since the 1980’s.
HALO Trust’s DFID funded Western Region headquarters was contacted by the Mine Action Coordination Centre for Afghanistan (MACCA), asked to respond and neutralise the threat. HALO’s recce of the site confirmed the bomb was fused and armed, and therefore posed an immediate danger to life and property.
Under the command of HALO Afghanistan’s Western Region Operations Officer Abdul Latif Rahimi, and the Program’s senior Explosive Ordnance Disposal Officer Zabto Khan, a HALO EOD team constructed protective works around the bomb using some 8,000 sandbags and 140 metric tonnes of soil.
Once these preparations were completed, with the support from the city police and local community leaders, buildings and the area around the site were fully evacuated and a police cordon out to 800m established.
A low explosive propelled rocket wrench was then fitted to the nose fuse on the bomb to render it safe; the wrench functioned as intended, remotely spinning the fuse off the bomb without creating an inadvertent high order detonation.
The fuse was destroyed in situ and the 500kg blast bomb was craned on to a HALO truck and removed from Herat City for destruction under controlled conditions at a central demolition site.
HALO received praise from community leaders, provincial government representatives and the Afghan Police for the professional nature in which it quickly responded to, and dealt with the unexploded bomb.