At the end of our trip through Afghanistan, we are full of impressions of the nature, people, and ancient history of this exciting and rich country. At the same time, we are aware that wars have plagued its people, and large parts of the country are still not safe to travel in. To get a better perspective on this, we head to the OMAR (Organisation for Mine clearance and Afghan Rehabilitation) mine museum. It is located just around the corner of the infamous Ghazi stadium, once used by the Taliban for public executions, but hardly any Afghan we ask knows where to find it. When we see military equipment inside a compound, we know we have arrived. We pass through a security check, are asked to wait a little, and then received by a friendly staff member of the organization who takes us around the compound.
We start with the main exhibition hall. A sobering place: lined up on the wall and on display in cupboards, we find all kinds of explosives used in the wars in Afghanistan. The lady tells us about the fact that mines have been used since decades in the country, making Afghanistan one of the most-minded countries in the world. Landmines still claim lives on a daily basis in the country, and although clearance operations have been underway for a long time, this even happens in Kabul itself. It is sickening to see how devices have been designed to maim and kill people, and even more so how many of their victims are children. The lady tells us about the awareness campaigns among young Afghans, but at the same time, the question remains: how can you tell a kid not to be curious, not to explore, not to play, not to pick up that fancy device you just found on the ground?
Remarkable attributes to the exhibition are some fancy classic cars, some with historic significance (like the one used by an ex-president), and certainly also the Yak aircraft that is fully integrated into the building. Its fuselage lies on the roof of the mine museum, and walking up the rear stairs brings you to a classroom with video equipment, to make the exhibition more attractive for kids. Downstairs, we see equipment used by staff to clear the land of mines (a dangerous job, obviously). Outside, we see some of the Soviet aircraft and a Scud missile, also used in the war here. Then, a row of used cluster bombs - God knows how many lives they have claimed here. All the while, the lady patiently explains the work of OMAR, the struggle to get their country safer, and the long road they still have to go before everyone can walk without fear on Afghan soil. We feel helpless - all we can do is make a donation to OMAR to keep up their good work.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from OMAR mine museum (Afghanistan). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to OMAR mine museum.
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