Pictured: A school in East Mosul

Janus Global Operations (JGO) has been tasked to clear areas of Mosul, Iraq of ISIS- placed booby traps, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and explosive remnants of war in a situation a U.S. government official says is “like nothing we’ve encountered.”

JGO has been working in Iraq since April 2016 on behalf of the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement.  Initially, JGO helped clear Ramadi, Iraq of tens of thousands of explosive remnants of war left by ISIS as it was expelled by U.S.-supported Iraqi forces.  Earlier in 2017, having worked in Ramadi and other areas of Anbar province, JGO expanded its work for the State Department by establishing a training facility outside Erbil, in Iraq’s Kurdish region, to support operations in other areas liberated from ISIS.

The coalition against ISIS announced on July 10 that Iraqi forces regained control of Mosul, concluding a months-long effort that was supported by U.S. training and air support. The violent extremist group left behind innumerable explosive devices, as reported by the Washington Post on July 13 in an article headlined: “It could take more than a decade to clear Mosul of explosives, U.S. officials say.”

JGO’s chief executive officer said ISIS’ use of IEDs as a ‘weapons system’ broke new ground, making it much more challenging for Iraq’s displaced citizens to return home and resume their lives.  The State Department-sponsored efforts of JGO therefore utilized systematic ‘strategic clearance’ that focused on clearing critical infrastructure to rapidly enable the resumption of Mosul’s economic and civic life.

“Age, gender, religion – it makes no difference to ISIS.  Its goal is to destroy and kill. Ours is to help make the city safe for people, business, and government services to return to normal. The State Department’s office of Weapons Removal and Abatement is saving lives and restoring hope through its work, and we’re proud to be part of this effort,” said Matt Kaye, JGO’s chief executive officer.

JGO saw in Ramadi how ISIS leaves lethal devices in disguised places and in innocent-looking everyday items, and Kaye said JGO was seeing a similar tactic in Mosul, where such devices numbered into the tens of thousands. Mosul is larger than Ramadi, and ISIS had over two years to construct and hide its explosive devices.

Adding ISIS’ death traps to otherwise expected unexploded ordnance shows the scale of the task ahead.

As Stanley Brown, director of the State Department’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, told the Washington Post: “When I look around the world, in some ways there’s nothing like Mosul that we’ve encountered. The level of contamination is not one where we’re talking weeks and months, we’re talking years and maybe decades.”

Janus Global Operations is an integrated stability operations company that focuses on ‘day after’ support for its clients, allowing them to take strategic steps almost as soon as hostilities cease, allowing citizens more rapidly to resume their lives and broader reconstruction to get underway.  Janus has thousands of employees serving clients in North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.  Its services include munitions response; demining; intelligence support; logistics; life support; risk management; communications; and other services in some of the world’s most challenging and hostile environments. The company’s website is www.janusgo.com.