Countering Vehicle Borne IEDs on Moving Convoys | Security Risks Asia Made with Humane Club

Countering Vehicle Borne IEDs on Moving Convoys

Published Feb 19, 2019
Updated May 09, 2020

VBIEDs on moving convoys are difficult to neutralise yet an eight point plan is suggested to ensure neutralising this threat looming in the Valley.

In the past one week there have been two almost identical suicide bomb attacks on moving convoys of security persoonel with vehicle laden IEDs.

The first attack occurred in Iran’s Sistan Balochistan province which borders Pakistan where a bomber crashed a vehicle laden with explosives into a convoy of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps with over 20 fatalities and many injured. The terrorist group Jaish al Adl which operates from Balochistan Province in Pakistan claimed the strike

The second attack was in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir on a similar pattern a vehicle laden with explosives presumably RDX crashed into a convoy of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). Again with devastating results as 40 policemen were killed while several were injured. The UN proscribed terrorist group again based in Pakistan Jaish e Mohammad claimed the attack.

In general it is presumed that vehicle borne IED (VBIEDs) are employed by militants on static assets to break through a barrier and gain access to a well protected compound or other immoveable targets. Enhancing access controls to prevent vehicles from penetrating have been successfully used to defeat such attacks.

On the other hand static IEDs which can target convoys are defeated by employing electronic jammers so that these cannot be triggered remotely.

Moving convoy of vehicles on public roads are difficult to protect from VBIEDs especially when used by a suicide bomber to crash in the target vehicles but this is not impossible if some basic drills/

The practice of restricting use of roads by civilian vehicles when military convoys are to pass may be essential but over a time this will get diluted as the need of the locals has to be met.

In addition hardening of vehicle bodies is called for but this cannot be done for large troop moving convoys given the penalty of time due to weight load effect on the vehicle. Sandbagging can be resorted.

Some other drills that can be followed are enumerated as below-

Firstly insurgency affected areas as Jammu and Kashmir where the threat of such attacks is now imminent need to carry out effective road opening by clearing the axis to ensure that no suspected vehicles are planted on the route or awaiting to be driven into convoys during the time of passage.

Secondly picqueting of road crossings wherein a VBIED can be driven in from side lanes should be undertaken. These picquets have to be in place throughout the time of the convoy. Barriers can be erected so that a suspect vehicle does not crash into the convoy when it is passing from a side road.

Thirdly there is a need to check on availability of explosives to ensure that these cannot be acquired by sources locally or by infiltrating from across the Line of Control.

Fourthly the number of experts who can construct a VBIED are few. Intelligence agencies need to deploy special resources for identifying, locating and neutralising these so that their skills are not exploited. Special rewards for information of such terrorists and for surrendering should be instituted

Fifthly discouraging terrorists from carrying out suicide attacks should be a part of the psychological warfare campaign that should be launched using social media to good effect.

Sixthly look out men should be nominated in each vehicle during convoys who are specifically placed in the front, side and rear to locate any stray vehicle that may be attempting to make an entry in the convoy so that the same can be evaded.

Seventhly convoy movement timings need to be kept secure and varied each day as far as possible so that an element of surprise is maintained.

Eighthly local police should follow closely complaints of theft of vehicles and civilians should be encouraged to report the same as these could be used as VBIEDs subsequently. Details of such vehicles should be shared with the Road Opening and picketing parties to ensure safety and security.

While these measures may appear simple at the outset implementation will ensure security by deterring and defeating VBIED attacks in good measure.