31 Dec. 2008
PR# 2008-755

EOD teams stay busy across Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan - An Italian Air Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team at Camp Arena, Herat, carried out a controlled explosion of Russian explosives found in a 115mm tank artillery shell at ISAF Regional Command West headquarters, Dec. 27. It was the fifth find at ISAF regional headquarters’ locations in Afghanistan within the past three days. French EOD technicians reported to ISAF HQ in Kabul four times in two days for the same reason.

“More or less all the bases have the same problem,” said Commander of Force Protection at Camp Arena, Italian Air Force 1st Lieutenant Nanni Maurizio of Martina Franca, Italy. "Most ordnance is remnants from the Russian invasion and is not found until there are construction-type projects going on.”

This was the case with the ordnance found at Camp Arena.

“A local worker doing excavation work for a new foundation found something that looked like ordnance,” said Italian Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Simone Nadal, EOD team leader from Tivoli, Italy. “He called the Commander of Force Protection to send the EOD team, and we went to survey the compound. A little more than half of the shell was still buried and we decided to blast it in place because it was considered untouchable and unmoveable.”

The compound where the ordnance was found was evacuated, and the area prepared for a blast. A radio could not be used to set off the explosion as the location was too close to the airport. Electrical wires with a hand-crank generator were used instead. The explosion was contained using 15 sandbags. From start to finish, the job took the EOD team 35 minutes.

“It’s important to have an EOD team here,” said Lieutenant Maurizio. “This area is not useful to us at all without the removal and neutralization of unexploded ordnance, especially when we find them so close to the airport runway. We simply can’t do any flight operations until the area is cleared.”

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/