Last weekend, Hungarian and Afghan EOD technicians saved the lives of hundreds by removing a magnetic bomb from a tanker truck filled up with 16,000 liters of kerosene in downtown Pol-e Khomri. The commander of the HDF Provincial Reconstruction Team (HUN PRT) and the chief of the EOD cell told us the story.
„On Saturday at 18:30 local time, we received a telephone call from the deputy provincial police chief. He told us that an IED emplaced on a tanker truck had been found less than three kilometers from Camp Pannonia in downtown Pol-e Khomri at a busy hub near a mosque, on the main road leading to Kunduz. The police officer informed us that unfortunately there weren’t any deployable local bomb disposal units around, so he requested our help”, Lt.-Col. János Somogyi, the commander of the HUN PRT-12 told us.
He added that he immediately alerted the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) and the EOD team of the Hungarian contingent, and then they deployed to the scene under police escort. According to the lieutenant-colonel, it is fortunate that cases like this are relatively rare, but recently there have been more and more of them at the seat of Baghlan Province.
Last time, on June 28 a tanker truck filled up with gasoline was blown up in the inner city traffic circle. On that occasion, one Afghan was killed, several people were injured and more than a dozen shops were gutted.
„Arriving on the scene, we continued to gather information and found the truck driver who told us that there were 16,000 liters of kerosene inside the tank. He also told us that an Afghan motorcyclist had emplaced an IED on the tank. The driver tried to remove it, but he did not succeed, and then he notified the local police”, the commander of the HUN PRT related the events.
SSG K., the chief the HUN PRT EOD cell told us that in line with the usual protocols first they sent an EOD robot to the tanker truck to reconnoiter the scene.
They tried to remove the IED from the tank using the manipulator arm of the robot, but the magnet was so strong that they failed, although the robot is capable of lifting weights up to 35 kgs with its “hand”, or to tow a car if its handbrakes are released.
„At that point, the Afghan EOD technicians arrived on the scene. After watching the video footages shot by the robot, we decided to use the Hook and Line kit from the EOD equipment to remove the IED. One of the Afghan bomb technicians attached the hook to the IED and then we removed the bomb remotely”, the EOD chief said, adding that they had already met the local EOD technicians several times before, as they regularly organize trainings and refresher courses for them.
By that time it was 10:00 pm., which means the action took over three hours. The local policemen transported the IED to the Afghan National Directorate of Security, where it is currently under investigation.
Through their successful action, the Hungarian and Afghan EOD technicians have saved the lives of several hundred people, because the explosion of such a large amount of kerosene would have caused a huge disaster, Lt.-Col. János Somogyi told us.