Hesco Barriers in the Hindu Kush Mountains

February 22, 2015


Photographer: Rob Sheridan
Summary AuthorRob Sheridan

About 70 million years ago the Indo-Australian Plate began pushing into the Eurasian Plate at a convergent boundary. The resulting Himalayan orogeny continues today with the Himalayas and their western extension, the Hindu Kush of Afghanistan, rising about a centimeter a year despite simultaneous erosion that fills its valleys with the mountains’ gravel debris in a fine clay soil.

James William “Jimi” Heselden (1948-2010) was a British coal miner with a great idea for an easily constructed flood barrier -- a folding wire container with heavy cloth liner that could be filled with local material using a front-end loader. The concept was quickly seen as useful by military forces and combined with concertina wire to form many of the barriers used today in conflicts all over the world. Concertainers were much, much quicker to erect than traditional sandbag structures. They've also proved more durable and flexible.

The photograph above illustrates a Concertainer or Hesco barrier wall from a military fortification in eastern Afghanistan. In the background is a foothill of the Hindu Kush Mountains in eastern Afghanistan, the source of the rocky debris and soil used for filling the folding containers. Photo taken on January 24, 2015.

Photo details: Camera Maker: NIKON; Camera Model: COOLPIX S9700; Focal Length: 67.8mm (35mm equivalent: 380mm); Aperture: ƒ/6.3; Exposure Time: 0.013 s (1/80); ISO equiv: 125.