OSCE trains Central Asians how to counter IED threat



The OSCE September 13 concluded the 10th regional workshop in Astana on explosive hazard reduction and response in Central Asia. An improvised explosive device is shown December 30, 2015, in Medellin, Colombia. [Leon Monsalve/AFP]

ASTANA -- The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Thursday (September 13) concluded the 10th regional workshop in Astana on explosive hazard reduction and response in Central Asia, according to its website.

This year's workshop, organised by Kazakhstan's Ministry of Defence and the OSCE offices in Astana and Dushanbe, was focused on the emerging threat posed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and best practices in countering them.

During the workshop, 60 military and civilian officials from Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan described challenges in dealing with IEDs and listed measures they have taken to raise awareness of the threats posed by them.

"It is important to build the capacity of military personnel, security officials and civil sector specialists to counter the threat of IEDs," György Szabó, head of the OSCE Programme Office in Astana, said in an OSCE statement. "The exchange of experience between experts, particularly at the regional level, is an effective tool in this effort."


Ambassador György Szabó (left), head of the OSCE Programme Office in Astana, speaks at the opening of the regional workshop on explosive hazards in Astana September 11. [Bakytzhan Arystanbek/OSCE]

Foreign trainers teach about IED challenges

US, United Nations and British specialists shared best practices in countering IEDs with participants and discussed emerging challenges in the field.

Topics included "regional co-operation in promoting explosive hazards reduction, the types of threats posed by IEDs, the challenges associated with IEDs in humanitarian mine action and the emerging threat from the use of small unmanned aircraft (drones) as a delivery mechanism and opportunities to use them in addressing IED threats", according to the website.

"In Central Asia, mine action and explosive hazards risk reduction have long been areas of co-operation, through capacity building as well as through the sharing of experiences and best practices among governments, ministries and institutions," said Johan Dahl, demining officer at the OSCE Programme Office in Dushanbe. "This 10th regional workshop is testimony to that tradition."

"The Republic of Kazakhstan has always been and continues to be a consistent and active participant in international co-operation in the area of arms control," said Deputy Defence Minister Lt. Gen. Talgat Mukhtarov.

"Raising awareness and strengthening confidence and security-building measures in the OSCE region is certainly an important component of this interaction," he added.

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