The dogs of war! Do these dogs have the most dangerous job in the world?
These incredible photographs show dogs hard at work in the most dangerous job in the world: clearing mines in the war fields of Afghanistan.
The mines are a legacy of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980’s and children are particularly vulnerable to the fatal blasts when they go out to play or tend to their flocks of cattle.
Mine Detection teams work with the highly-trained dogs, typically Belgian or German Shepherds, to find and neutralise the lethal explosives in the Namak Ab District of Afghanistan.
Mines and other explosive remnants of war such as mortars, grenades and artillery rounds are often found mixed together.
The humbling and inspirational pictures were taken by Craig McInally, the 40-year-old former US Army bomb disposal expert who has been working in EOD and mine action since 1999.
Craig has served in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, El Salvador, and Nigeria and has been stationed in Afghanistan since January 2014.
He said: “Some mines are intentionally designed with minimum metal to make detection difficult.
“Dogs can search much faster than a person with a detector, especially in areas where mine contamination is low. This is particularly helpful in reducing the total size of a suspected area.”
These heroic dogs are from the Afghan Mine Detection Center and funding comes from government donations around the world and international charities.
They are selected as puppies based on health and their fixation on a rubber ball. This rubber ball is the reward for all their hard work.
The handler will start the dog in a warm-up box, then show the dog where to start based on wind direction and previous cleared areas.
The dogs then know to sniff along in a straight line searching for the explosives. When the dog reaches the end, it is called back their progress is marked with coloured flags.
The process will continue until all the fields are cleared of mines.
The “Mine Types” photo shows three very common mines in Afghanistan.
From the left: Italian TC-6 antitank blast mine, minimum metal and hard to detect. Russian PMN-2, antipersonnel blast mine. Finally, Russian PMN antitank blast mine, perhaps the most abundant mine on Earth.