Insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq are planting so many improvised explosive devices, known as IEDs, that U.S. casualties from the cheap homemade bombs continue to climb despite a ramped-up military campaign to counter their use, the National Journal
In Afghanistan, IED casualties — typically from roadside bombs buried beneath the ground or concealed in debris — increased by 39 percent from 2008 to 2009. The military responded in 2010 by dramatically increasing the number of route-clearing teams in Afghanistan as well as airborne surveillance units that employ drone aircraft missile strikes to kill insurgents spotted planting the bombs.
Last year IEDs killed 368 U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan. The pace of fatalities may be falling based on casualty figures for 2011. But the chief of the counter-IED program, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Michael Oates, “acknowledged that IEDs were an effective and low-cost way for militants to maim or kill American and NATO troops from a distance, which means that insurgents are virtually certain to continue burying the bombs well into the future,” the Journal reports.
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