News story

UK begins training Iraqi Forces in countering-IEDs

UK personnel have begun to deliver counter-Improvised Explosive Devices (C-IED) training to members of the Iraqi Security Forces in Iraq.

Training picture
A member of the UK Training Team explains a system to mark the potential threat in an urban area as part of an Improvised Explosive Devices lesson at the Taji Military Complex, Iraq.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

I’m pleased to announce that the new courses of C-IED training for Iraqi ground forces have started this weekend, following the Prime Minister’s pledge this summer that the UK would increase the number of personnel assisting the Iraqi government’s counter-ISIL efforts.

Fifty personnel from 33 Engineer Regiment, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), will deliver life-saving C-IED instruction to members of the Iraqi Security Forces in Besmaya and Taji.

The counter-IED training targets a particular tactic used by ISIL terrorists who are well known for their intensive use of explosives when retreating. So far, UK forces have trained over 2,170 members of the Kurdish Security Forces in C-IED tactics and techniques and this programme will extend that capability to the Iraqi forces. It will ensure they are also better-equipped to counter the evil of ISIL and will allow them to clear territory safely and return it to local people who have been displaced, currently unable to return to their homes.

Meanwhile, Kurdish forces have recently defeated 60 IEDs and avoided a further 300 in a single village thanks to the 1,000 counter-IED VALLON detectors gifted by the UK in June.

This year is poignant for those who undertake EOD roles. On 22 October there will be a commemorative service at St Paul’s marking 75 years since the formation of the Army’s Royal Engineer bomb disposal unit.

Focusing on the role of EOD throughout the Second World War, as well as during the conflicts of Northern Ireland and Afghanistan, the service will see members from across the three services give thanks for the men and women of the Armed Forces who have served and continue to serve in bomb disposal roles across the world today.

Published 19 October 2015