The threat of explosives and IEDs, reminds many people in the Western hemisphere of the Boston Bombings earlier this year, or even more devastating IED attacks, which took place in Madrid 2004, London 2005, and Oslo 2011. Together with several prevented attacks such as the “shoe bomber” on a Northwest Airlines Flight in Detroit 2009, and the car bombing attempt on the New York Times Square 2010, the threat of IEDs to public security has been engraved in everybody’s minds.
For the military, however, the perceived relevance of the IED threat will most likely decline after the withdrawal of ISAF troops from Afghanistan in 2014. Meanwhile, a large number of nations continue to be highly threatened by terrorist attacks with explosives, unexploded war remnants and landmines. In January 2013 alone, several bombings took place in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta and in the northern Swat Valley, killing a total of 130 people and injuring at least 270. Another 84 were killed, when a bomb attached to a motorbike exploded at a market in Hazara Town on the outskirts of Quetta in February. The same threat is ever more present in India and Southern Thailand, where IED attacks kill civilians and military representatives on a monthly basis. The number of casualties for countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq is even more preoccupying.
These threats continue to challenge regional wealth and development, and therewith indirectly further poverty and radicalism. Can Western decision makers and military commanders really ignore this challenge, even when being pressured by budget costs and other emerging threats? The Boston Bombings have just shown, that distant regional conflicts can quickly become a public security concern since they can emerge at anyone’s doorstep.
NCT C-IED ASIA 2013
The second edition of NCT C-IED Asia 2013, which took place from October 29 to 31 at the St Regis Hotel in Bangkok, aimed to raise awareness of this enduring threat to regional, but also international security. In close cooperation with the Royal Thai Police, IB Consultancy gathered international experts, regional civil and military stakeholders, as well as leading companies providing C-IED and EOD solutions in the bubbly capital of Thailand.
The event opened with a live demonstration of the Royal Thai Police’s C-IED capabilities. The setting included an IED placed in the parking lot of the St Regis Hotel, a classic realistic scenario which could happen every day in Bangkok. The humid weather of Bangkok, as well as the arrival of police trucks, K9 dogs and the EOD team dressed in their protective bomb suits thereby created the perfect atmosphere to generate tension and attention within the audience. The result of the demonstration was impressive: from detecting and neutralizing the device by the EOD team to the work of the Police’s forensics team, the Royal Thai Police convinced the audience with their competences.
On day 2 of the event, the conference was opened by the Secretary General of the Cambodian Mine Action Authority and Advisor to the Cambodian Prime Minister, His Excellency Chum Bun Rong. Followed by highly interesting insights into new approaches and trends in the field of C-IED and EOD by Major Vitor Felisberto from the NATO C-IED Center of Excellence, and Lt Col Nabin Silwal from the Nepalese Army, the first morning of the conference provided a broad basis for the in-depth analysis which was to follow. One of the highlights of October 30 was the presentation of Pol. Colonel Kamthorn Auicharoen from the Royal Thai Police’s EOD Team, who gave the international audience an extensive and detailed overview of IED threats and related challenges in Bangkok as well as Southern Thailand.
The third day further featured interactive workshops and presentations on C-IED intelligence, forensics and analysis, including high-level speakers such as KhunYing Porntip Rojanasunan – in Thailand a national TV-star in criminal investigations and forensics. Her presentation on the collection of forensic evidence that led to the arrest of bomb makers and bombers in the South of Thailand, not only demonstrated her impressive expertise in the field of forensics and intelligence approaches, but also the high maturity of investigators in Thailand. Afterwards, renowned experts such as Superintendent Jimmy Yuen from the Hong Kong Police presented new robotic solutions for C-IED response, as well as their advantages and disadvantages. To round-up this Asian EOD forum, Mohamad Sediq Rashid from the Mine Action Coordination Center of Afghanistan, as well as TeKimiti Gilbert from the humanitarian organization APOPO stressed again the relevance of demining and land release for public security but also development in the region and why international cooperation in this field is needed.
Together with the live demonstration, high-level and distinguished regional and international speakers, as well as regionally highly relevant topics and stream sessions, the event fulfilled its aim to further raise awareness of these enduring challenges linked to IEDs, UXOs and landmines in Europe and the US, as well as within the whole Asian continent.
NCT EXPLOSIVE ASIA 2014
In Asia the threat of landmines and unexploded war remnants is tremendous: large areas in Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos cannot be inhabited or even cultivated, because they are practically littered with landmines. Furthermore, unexploded war remnants for example left behind by ISAF troops in Afghanistan pose an important threat to children searching for metal and other material to sell.
For this reason, IB Consultancy is organizing the successor event NCT eXplosive Asia 2014 from 6 to 8 May, 2014 in Siem Reap, Cambodia; a country littered by landmines and UXOs. NCT eXplosive Asia 2014 will discuss and elaborate solutions for this enduring threat not only to the Cambodian population, but to large parts of farmers, children and the military in Southeast and Central Asia. Including a live C-IED and EOD demonstration, the third edition of Asia’s leading C-IED and EOD event will therefore deepen lessons learned from the conferences in Mumbai (2012) and Bangkok (2013), and continue to raise awareness and further the exchange of information from Washington to Phnom Penh.