News story

Afghan villagers help British dispose of IED

British bomb disposal experts successfully disposed of a roadside bomb this week which had been brought to them by local villagers.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
Lance Corporal Ciaran Hanna

Lance Corporal Ciaran Hanna connects wires to a nine-volt battery as part of the controlled detonation of the improvised explosive device [Picture: Lance Corporal Jeremy Fasci, US Department of Defense 2011]

Members of the Counter-Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) Task Force, located at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Kharn Nikah in Nahr-e Saraj, carried out a successful controlled detonation of the IED after local people brought it to them.

Villagers in the area often bring IEDs to the forward operating bases and outposts where British forces and their Afghan National Army partners are located, hoping to rid the area of the dangerous weapons.

Villagers are also encouraged by coalition forces located in the area to provide information about those manufacturing and laying the devices.

Lieutenant Andy Brett of the C-IED Task Force said:

The locals around here are quite helpful. They want to get rid of the IEDs as much as we do, to increase their freedom of movement.

The locals use it as a way of making sure that they’re safe and to help us out. They also see it as a trust issue between the infantry unit here and themselves. We help them out with the local projects, giving them money to put in bridges and help them with farming and stuff like that.

The area surrounding FOB Kharn Nikah is littered with IEDs. The desire of the Afghans who live near the base to clear this blight makes the work of British and Afghan forces less dangerous and is a positive indicator of a brighter future for the area.

The ability to move freely helps coalition and Afghan forces provide better security while also making life much easier for farmers. Recent large amounts of rainfall have caused the ground in the area to turn into mud, so clear paths on the high ground are important for both groups.

The existing relationship with the villagers near the base has made destroying the many IEDs a much safer task than it normally would be.

Lieutenant Brett added:

When an IED is handed in, it’s much simpler to deal with than when it’s in the ground. Obviously, you can see it a lot easier and you know the make-up of the IED, so it’s the simplest job we do out here.

Published 17 March 2011