Northern Iraq (Kurdistan)

Mine Detection Dog Partnership Program

Iraq’s mine action program has two distinct components.   The Kurdish Regional Government oversees the Iraqi Kurdistan Mine Action Agency (IKMAA) in the northern Kurdistan region, with mine clearance operations done by the humanitarian demining organization Mines Action Group (MAG). In Central and Southern Iraq, mine action work is overseen by the Directorate of Mine Action (DMA) and clearance operations done by the indigenous outfit Iraq Mine and UXO Clearance Organization (IMCO).

In 2016, the Ministry of Peshmerga requested MLI’s assistance in providing twelve explosive detection dogs (EDDs) and six MDDs to support the counter ISIS battle to locate mines & IEDs and allow internally displaced persons to return safely to their homes and properties in recently liberated areas. Sixteen of the 18 requested dogs are now certified and operational with their Kurdish handlers. These canine heroes already have safely & reliably searched twenty thousand cars, hundreds of buildings, and over a dozen acres of open land, locating many dangerous explosives. Their work is helping to make Iraqi Kurdistan a safe place once again for people to live, work, and play.


MLI is training Kurdish handlers to employ the lifesaving dogs safely and effectively in clearance operations throughout Iraqi Kurdistan. A sponsor may name his/her dog, receive regular progress reports, observe the dog in action, and participate in donor recognition events in Washington, DC and/or Erbil, Iraq.  The cost to fully sponsor and train a mine detection dog is $25,000, but no donation is too small and all levels of  support will make a difference in this important effort.