Erbil, Iraq — It’s currently estimated that 70-80 percent of Peshmerga killed in the war against Daesh are done so at the hands of an Improvised Explosive Device, or IED, left behind by the terrorist organization. Training the Peshmerga on how to identify and safely destroy these devices is crucial. A team of specialists from the British Army Royal Engineers was sent in to run training courses on the identification and safe detonation of IEDs in Iraqi Kurdistan. The three week course is broken up into two teams: detect (identify) and defeat (detonate). Trainees in both tracks are run through the rigorous program with the aim that by the end they will be able to lower the number of fellow soldiers killed in the field.
Trainees of the program have all volunteered for the job. Many lack warmer layers. Despite colder weather and a need for more equipment, all those participating in the three week course show enthusiasm for hands-on training.
It’s clear the threat of IEDs is not going away anytime soon. With an unforeseeable end to the fighting, and countless boobytraps lying in wait, those willing to go above and beyond maintaining the front lines listen closely as their trainers pass on all that they can during their short stay.