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Morning, dark and somber

Remote and rugged

Through sandy paths

Remnants of the Cold War

Mapping the day

Quiet, deadly

Clearing brush

Antitank mine found

Nearby villages, nearby mines

Demining operations in Angola near Cuito Canavale

Improvised explosives

Meter by meter

TNT in the ground

White tips

Location of a Cuban PN1 landmine

Explosive storage

Many mines placed together

From the city of Huambo we've traveled on the main road in a long-range, armored Land Rover for 10 hours to get to the southern reaches of the country.

Paved in most places, but slow going in others, the quality of the two lane corridor varies. Long, straight stretches give way to a crumbling and washed out road in places. 

There's not much here. No stores, no gas stations. We pass another car just every 10 miles or so. 

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

This land mine once had a trip wire that, when snagged, would detonate the explosive. 

After decades of war, there are more than 70 different types of mines buried in Angola from 22 different countries.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

It's about 40 degrees, dark, and somber at 5 a.m. as deminers from The Halo Trust line up for the morning 'parade' -- their daily meeting. 

Today is the final day of demining operations in Cuito Cuanavale, as lack of funding is forcing the shutdown of operations. 

Some of these men have been working to clear these minefield for 10 years, and the shutdown not only means the threat of landmines remains, but the men will be out of jobs -- a scarce opportunity in remote Angola.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Following the meeting, the deminers jump onto a trailer pulled by a heavy duty tractor, where they commute through rugged, sandy trails to the minefield for the day's work.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

The main road here was cleared of mines and paved only a few years ago. But much of the country remains unpaved because of landmine danger. We head out through deep sandy paths winding through thick brush to the minefield outside of Cuito Cuanavale.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Disabled by an antitank mine during Angola's civil war, this South African tank rests at the edge of a minefield in Cuito Cuanavale.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Before entering the minefield where today's demining work will take place, area managers from The Halo Trust review maps, looking at what still needs to be cleared.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

From the staging area, we review the safety standards and put on protective gear including chest pads and face masks, which must be worn at all times.

Rows of red-tipped sticks mark the boundary between the safe path, and the deadly, uncleared land.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Clearing brush from the meter-wide search zone is vital, as workers must ensure metal detectors are placed as close to the ground as possible.

The work of a deminer is slow and patient, as any mistake could be deadly.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

An antitank mine still buried in the ground in a minefield in Cuito Cuanavale, Angola.

Once a mine is detected, the site is excavated from the side.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

In much of Angola, people live off the land, in close proximity to these dangerous minefields. 

With little infrastructure or modern conveniences, all that's available are the minimal resources that are necessary for survival, and getting them means navigating the deadly hidden mines, remnants of 27 years of civil war.

Landmine clearance allows people to farm their land safely and provide for their families. 

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

A downed helicopter in Cuito Cuanavale.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

A stark warning and red-tipped sticks mark the immense danger of a minefield just steps from the main road in southern Angola.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

The work of a deminer is an incredibly patient, methodical, and quiet experience.   

The forest is eerily quiet, the only sound is an occasional chirp of a metal detector that's found something.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

More nontraditional munitions include improvised explosives, such as this discovery of what appears to be a rocket, a rifle-mounted grenade and TNT all rigged with a red detonation cord and likely connected to another mine or a trip wire.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

The Halo Trust says that technology may help find landmines, but human beings working inch by inch and foot by foot remain the best way to clear a minefield.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Blocks of TNT and other unidentified explosives are seen in the ground in Cuito Cuanavale.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

White-tipped sticks throughout the forest mark locations where mines have been found and cleared.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Each white-tipped stick marking a removed mine includes details on what was found there. This stick shows the former location of a PN1 landmine detonated on June 5, 2017.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

The Halo Trust's Ralph Legg stands at the outskirts of a minefield in Cuito Cuanavale.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

More than 70 different types of landmines manufactured in 22 different countries have been found in Angola. Often, the explosives buried in the ground will be combinations of different mines, TNT and other improvised explosive devices.

Here, bunches of white-tipped sticks mark a spot where mines had been clustered together to inflict maximum damage.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

In remote southern Angola, near Cuito Cuanavale, a villager greets us as we pass en route to a nearby minefield.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

As civil war ravaged the country for decades, most small-scale farmers were forced to revert to basic subsistence farming -- many people are entirely dependent on the land.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Three boys play on a bridge along the main road in southern Angola.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Twenty years ago, England's Princess Diana brought attention to the dangers of landmines when she walked through a minefield in Huambo, Angola. CNET Reporters Dara Kerr and Rich Nieva, along with Gerhard Zank of the Halo Trust, now stand in the same place where she walked. This area now has a school, hotel and rows of houses.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Students walk to school in a Huambo neighborhood that was once a minefield. This area was cleared by The Halo Trust and returned to the community.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

A war memorial remembering the Cuban soldiers who died fighting in Angola's civil war. It's largely believed the Soviets and Americans used Angola as a proxy for the Cold War.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

A typical village market along the road outside Huambo, Angola.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

A motorcycle rides into the sunset on the road outside Huambo, Angola.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

The Milky Way and a roadway demining vehicle at the Halo Trust compound in Cuito Cuanavale.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
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