The U.S.'s annual military exercise in Mongolia, Khaan Quest, is underway, and the organizers have put some photos on flickr. One of the components of the exercise is apparently a "counter IED team post-forensic analysis."
Brig. Gen. John Seward, deputy commanding general, U.S. Army Pacific Command, uses a remote control to set off improvised explosive device as part of a demonstration held at Five Hills training area, Mongolia Aug. 18. The IED, similar to those found in Iraq and Afghanistan, was rigged to an old U.S. Embassy vehicle. The IED was detonated, and followed by a counter IED team post-forensic analysis. This was the first time the Counter IED Center of Excellence shared the demonstration with a partner nation.
A U.S. Embassy car, rigged with an improvised explosive device, explodes as part of a demonstration held at Five Hills training area, Mongolia Aug. 18.
Soldiers of the Mongolian Armed Forces search through a perimeter at the Five Hills training area, Mongolia, for pieces left of a U.S. Embassy Vehicle that was detonated for an improvised explosive device demonstration Aug. 18.
IEDs seem like kind of an unusual focus, given that these exercises are supposed to be oriented towards U.N. peacekeeping missions, where IEDs aren't that common. But hey, guys love blowing stuff up in the middle of nowhere.
For more background, see EurasiaNet's report from last year's Khaan Quest:
The exercise is the most visible form of US-Mongolian military cooperation, which, for Mongolia, has become an integral part of its "third neighbor" foreign policy strategy. Under that strategy, Ulaanbaatar strives to strengthen relations with nations beyond its two immediate neighbors, Russia and China. The joint exercises have been held annually since 2003. For the last three years, they have included other countries beyond the United States and the host nation. Past participants have included Indonesia, Bangladesh, Tonga and Fiji.
Khaan Quest grew out of Mongolia's participation in the US-led war in Iraq, the first combat action that Mongolian troops had seen since World War II. During the Communist era, Mongolia was a close ally of the Soviet Union. In the post-Soviet age, though, Mongolia has built ties with countries other than China and Russia, to avoid being dominated by those two neighbors.