Stepping Into a Minefield (Paperback)
A life dedicated to landmine clearance around the world
Ian Mansfield was serving in the Australian Army when he was selected to command a team of Australian combat engineers to go to Pakistan to train Afghan refugees in mine-clearance procedures. With millions of refugees expected to return to Afghanistan, the United Nations saw a humanitarian crisis looming and requested help from Western countries to tackle the landmine problem. In September 1991, Ian, along with his wife and two young children, left Australia on a one-year assignment … and didn’t return home for 20 years. This highly personal account recalls Ian’s pioneering efforts to set up a civilian program in Afghanistan to clear landmines for humanitarian purposes, and then his decision to leave the Australian Army and join the United Nations. He continued to work in the mine-action sector, setting up programs in Laos and Bosnia, and then working at the policy level at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Stepping into a Minefield highlights the dangers and the tragedies involved in landmine clearance, but also reveals the great humanity, dedication and humour of the thousands of brave men and women clearing landmines today. It also outlines the political, cultural and security ‘minefields’ that Ian had to navigate along the way, which were often more difficult to deal with than the real minefields.