The number of crude roadside bombs in Afghanistan has doubled in the past year, prompting U.S. officials to rush billions of dollars of new protective gear to troops and double the number of road-clearing teams.
The campaign against the deadly devices, described Thursday by senior officials, follows Pentagon warnings of an increase in casualties in the months to come. President Barack Obama has ordered the deployment of more than 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, and already more U.S. deaths have accompanied the rise in forces.
Twice as many troops died in the first three months of 2010 compared to the same period last year.
The IED threat is not going to go away. It has basically been proven to be the only consistently effective method of inflicting casualties on US forces and bomb-makers are going to be in high demand wherever US troops go.
The bombs in Afghanistan are not nearly as numerous or sophisticated as those encountered during the height of the bomb campaign in Iraq, but the low-tech methods bring their own challenges. Vehicles better suited to survive roadside bombs/mines such as MRAPs and double-hulled Strykers certainly will help, but the key is to get the bomb makers and de-motivate those who are willing to plant the bombs for them.
Putting bomb makers out of work and disrupting their supply lines is going to be tough with the Pakistan border area situation like it is.