In Iraq, the disposal of landmines, improvised explosive device and unexploded ordnance is necessary to help stabilize areas liberated from ISIS, and make day-to-day life possible again.
As Iraqi Security Forces, backed up by the US-led Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, were liberating areas occupied by ISIS, the terrorist group soiled the land with explosives and booby traps. Their intent was to not only prolong insecurity and cause additional civilian casualties, but also to delay stabilization and reconstruction in communities.
For example, the al-Dawassa water treatment facility came through the fight for Mosul nearly intact, but still needing repairs after three years of occupation by ISIS. As ISIS retreated from Mosul, they put down explosives around the water treatment facility.
Clearly, if the local neighborhoods are to recover, the hazards have to be removed, and the facility fixed. Explosive war materiel removal is a crucial precursor in stabilizing post-conflict areas.
However explosives removal is not as straight-forward as one might imagine. Not only is this work labor intensive and very dangerous, explosive hazards are often difficult to spot because they blend in with other debris.
The United States has partnered with Janus Global Operations company, funding its efforts to find and remove these hazards. And after six months of hard work, the al-Dawassa Water Treatment Facility was cleared of deadly improvised explosives, allowing maintenance teams to bring the plant back to working condition.
Al-Dawassa is critical to the daily functioning of Mosul. It not only provides families with clean drinking water, but also supports local businesses and agriculture. With these critical functions restored, families can return to their homes.
With smart investments in the work of partners like Janus to support stabilization, the United States demonstrates its enduring commitment to bolstering the safety of the Iraqi people. These efforts are not only making a difference in the lives of ordinary Iraqis, but they are also removing the barbaric legacy that ISIS left behind, a key priority of the United States and the entire 75-member Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.