Wednesday, December 12, 2007

SAM Afghan Edition, Part II (IEDs In Iraq And Afghanistan: CRS)

IEDs are well known in Iraq but I have not seen as much concerning their use in Afghanistan. This recent report from the CRS gives some insight into IED use in both places and some of the countermeasure initiatives currently under way.

Highlights from the text include:

  • "Improvised explosive devices, also known as IEDs, roadside bombs, and suicide car bombs, have caused over 70% of all American combat casualties in Iraq and 50% of combat casualties in Afghanistan, both killed and wounded."
  • "In Afghanistan, the IED munitions supply is supported by funds from an expanding opium trade."
  • "However, DOD officials have also stated that in Afghanistan, Taliban fighters have increased both the number and lethality of their IED attacks."
  • "DOD has found that insurgents build and deploy IEDs by using networks that, for centuries in Afghanistan and Iraq, have formed the sinews of commerce and survival for tribes and factions. A typical IED terrorist cell consists of six to eight people, including a financier, bomb maker, emplacer, triggerman, spotter, and often a cameraman. Videos of exploding U.S. vehicles and dead Americans are distributed via the Internet to win new supporters."
  • "Threat data about IEDs is tightly controlled by DOD to avoid giving feedback to the enemy about the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of different IED designs. Also, proprietary rights must be protected for those companies who produce IED countermeasures. However, these controls may sometimes limit access by other companies to important information about the effectiveness of anti-IED systems as they are tested or used in battle."

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