Canadian Armed Forces contribute to strengthen Iraqi forces capabilities in dealing with explosive hazards

In February and March this year, a Canadian Armed Forces Explosive Threat Training Team conducted an Explosive Threat Search training course for trainers of the Iraqi Security Forces.

This course was held at the Iraqi Army Bomb Disposal School in Besmaya, Iraq, within the framework of NATO’s training and capacity partnership building with the Iraqi Security Forces. It was developed in accordance with Canadian Armed Forces doctrine and standards to assist the Iraqi Security Forces develop the skills-set to locate and identify explosive hazards.

Seventeen students from various units across the Iraqi Security Forces came to the Bomb Disposal School from front line units, bringing with them a great deal of experience built on the battlefield. Canadian trainers quickly formed a sound professional relationship and bond with the Iraqi students. The students engaged in multiple search techniques and enhanced their training capacity so that they can return to their units and pass these skills on to their peers.

«The students were motivated and experienced; we learned as much from them as they did from us over the five weeks of training. It was an excellent opportunity to work with them in a peer-based learning environment», a Canadian Armed Forces Explosive Threat Training Team Leader said.

Following the liberation of Iraq from Daesh, ensuring the safety of public areas and buildings is vital to Iraq’s lasting security. Graduates of the course will return to their units to conduct explosive threat searches, an inherently dangerous and challenging task. These Iraqi soldiers will be physically putting themselves between these threats and the population in order to increase safety and security, and limit civilian casualties.

Canada and other NATO Allies continue to conduct training activities to strengthen Iraqi security institutions and protect the local population, whilst at the same time helping to form a new class of Iraqi trainers, who will carry the work forward. « The Canadian Armed Forces combat engineers have been giving instruction on dealing with various explosive threats since fall 2017 at the Iraq Army’s bomb disposal school. That mission has been a real success and has now been extended to the fall of 2018. Helping the Iraqis deal with these threats is an important contribution to Iraq, the Coalition and NATO», Brigadier-General Andrew Jayne, Joint Task Force Iraq Commander pointed out.

In addition to search skills, Canada has also instructed students in the defeat of explosive devices, first aid, cordon drills and instructional techniques. All training has been completed under the umbrella of NATO’s training and capacity building effort in full coordination with the Iraqi security forces and national authorities.