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Defining the device: The need for international humanitarian standards for improvised explosive device disposal

Research output: Book/ReportReport

Original languageEnglish
PublisherThe Policy Institute at King's
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 2017

King's Authors


Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) have become a serious and significant threat in a hostile world. IEDs are now the weapon of choice for nonstate armed groups (NSAGs) and are deployed with devastating consequences in about half of the world’s countries. Although IEDs are often said to have indiscriminate effects, they have a disproportionate impact on civilians, who account for more than 80 per cent of all IED-related casualties. IEDs also have a significant impact on humanitarian operators and operations.

Between 2004 and 2014, 367 humanitarian aid workers were killed by IEDs while on duty, one third of whom were in Afghanistan. As a direct result of increasing IED attacks on humanitarian aid workers, 33 per cent of NGOs operating in Afghanistan ceased their activities in specific areas. The terrible effects of IEDs go beyond the immediacy of the blast, however, to include wider and more intangible social and political effects, such as threatening or undoing fragile peace-building efforts, breaking brittle economic development and deepening insecurities.

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