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Afghan IED attacks soar

world Updated: Mar 19, 2010 01:20 IST
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Taliban fighters more than doubled the number of homemade bombs they used against US and NATO forces in Afghanistan last year, relying on explosives that are often far more primitive than the ones used in Iraq.

The embrace of a low-tech approach by Taliban-trained bombmakers — they are building improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, out of fertilizer and diesel fuel — has stymied a $17 billion US counteroffensive against the devices in Iraq and Afghanistan, military officials say. Electronic scanners or jammers, which were commonly deployed in Iraq, can detect only bombs with metal parts or circuitry.

Army Lt. Gen. Michael Oates, director of the military’s Joint IED Defeat Organisation said they expected the number of IED attacks to climb further this year as 40,000 U.S. and NATO troops pour into Afghanistan.

Each bombing in Afghanistan, on average, causes 50 per cent more casualties than it did three years ago. The US military recorded 8,159 IED incidents in Afghanistan in 2009, compared with 3,867 in 2008 and 2,677 the year before.

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