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Hidden Dangers

A bombed-out bridge with a dead Russian tank beside it may be miles from anywhere in Afghanistan, but it's a picture that speaks volumes. You've seen the rubble that's called a capital, the tanks and warplanes in ruins, but what you can't see is that this vast country is still filled with hidden dangers.

That's why you see Russians building a fortified tent city to start aid work, while American troops setting up a relief operation guard their site with around the clock patrols of heavily-armed men carrying loads of ammo.

Too many people have weapons here, and if you're not watching out for them, you're watching out for other threats like the land mines and unexploded bombs U.S. engineers are finding all over Bagram air base.

"They give us a heads up and there's pretty big explosions going on," says one U.S. solider on the scene.

We saw the smoke from one of them when we were miles away from the base. And in addition to the mines and bombs going off, officers of the 10th Mountain Division told us wrecked Russian warplanes in the area all have to be searched because it's believed many of them are booby-trapped with explosives.

Other possible danger for the Americans could come from the northern alliance troops stationed right next to them at the air base. They may be allies, but they're not thrilled with having U.S. military on the ground -- and the Americans can feel it.

Explains one U.S. solider, "They're afraid of the military and rightly so after so many years…they're leery -- but they get used to us."

They're also getting used to the sight of men digging in fields all along important roads, marking dangerous spots with rocks, and digging up the millions of land mines buried here.

We met Mohammed Assan working on a mine-clearing crew. He's survived 23 years of war and wants to make his homeland safe.

Mohammed tells me his survival depends on God: if he wants us to die, we die.

And many have. It's believed up to 300 people are either wounded or killed by a land mine each month. One of the few factories functioning here makes artificial limbs.

For three years, Ross Chamberlain has dedicated his life to getting the mines, the bombs, the wars, cleared away from Afghanistan. He runs the United Nations mine clearance program here. He knows he puts his workers at risk, but feels they are safer than the innocent people harmed every day.

"What we have is a large number of dedicated people who do a lot of training and a lot of watching of these people and they're very, very well trained and very professional people," he explains. So we're not worried about de-miners doing their job."

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