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IEDs: past, present and future

An AOAV report on the impact of IEDs today, and through history – and what this means for the future. Read the full report here: IEDs: past, present and future.

Over the last decade – between October 2010 and the end September 2020, there have been 28,729 incidents of explosive violence, resulting in 357,619 casualties (263,487 civilians) recorded in English language media worldwide. Of these, 171,732 people were recorded as being from IEDs – a number that includes both civilians and armed actors.  48% of all people killed or injured by explosive weapons globally, then, were harmed by IEDs.

In that time there were reported some 11,971 IED incidents worldwide. This means that, compared to a total number of all explosive incidents, IEDs constituted 42% of all recorded and reported injurious explosive attacks (AOAV does not include attacks that harmed nobody). To understand why there has been such a rise in IEDs, AOAV has published this report – IEDs: past, present and future.

It is split into three papers:

  1. A decade of global IED harm reviewed
  2. The history of the IED explained
  3. Why are IEDs so prolific today?

This paper was presented at the United Nations General Assembly on the 15th October, 2020, working with UNIDIR and the kind assistance of the French government.

Iain Overton (Action on Armed Violence

Iain Overton is the Executive Director of Action on Armed Violence. He has been a member of an expert working group on explosive weapons for the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining, sits on the advisory committee to the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Explosive Weapons, and is an expert member of the Forum on the Arms Trade.  He also sits on the Advisory Board for the NIHR Global Health Research Group on Post Conflict Trauma; PrOTeCT at Imperial College London. He has written the section on the current threat of IEDs around the world.

Roger Davies (
Roger Davies MBE QGM has been involved in various aspects of terrorism response since 1985, as a soldier, bomb squad commander, intelligence analyst and businessman. He’s worked with first responders for decades, especially bomb squads around the world, and has advised national and international agencies on the development of policies and procedures for countering IEDs. He is a former member of the UN List of Experts on terrorism. Now retired, he is the author of the website and continues to research the lessons from history with regard to explosives and the response to them.. He has written the section on the history of the IED.

Dr Louise Tumchewics (Centre for Historical Analysis and Conflict)
Dr. Louise Tumchewics has a PhD in War Studies from King’s College London, focusing on improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and policy responses to unconventional weapons. She is a senior research fellow at the British Army’s Centre for Historical Analysis and Conflict Research, where she works on capability requirements and force development, including a new approach to urban operations.  Louise is presently writing a history of the IED, and has spoken on defence topics at various international fora, including the United Nations. She has written the section on why IEDs have risen to such prominence in recent years.

Additional research by Giulia Scalabrino.

This report was made possible by the generous assistance of the French Government and the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS).  Special thanks also goes to Alfred Jose Malaret Baldo at UNIDIR for his assistance in hosting a side event on this project on the 15th October, 2020.