News / Asia

Pentagon Warns US Troops Could Face More IEDs During Withdrawal

An Improvised Explosive Device (IED) used by the Taliban is displayed during a lesson on identifying IEDs for Afghan policemen conducted by U.S. army soldiers at Camp Nathan Smith in Kandahar, southern Afghanistan, October 15, 2012.
An Improvised Explosive Device (IED) used by the Taliban is displayed during a lesson on identifying IEDs for Afghan policemen conducted by U.S. army soldiers at Camp Nathan Smith in Kandahar, southern Afghanistan, October 15, 2012.
Luis Ramirez
A Pentagon official said U.S. and allied forces will face a higher threat from improvised explosive devices, IED’s, as they draw down in Afghanistan.

U.S. officials said improvised explosive devices, homemade bombs usually placed on roadsides, have accounted for more than 60 percent of U.S. combat casualties in Afghanistan.  

2011 was the deadliest year, with more than 1,900 U.S. troops killed or wounded by IEDs.  

U.S. officials said the numbers are slightly lower this year, but Lieutenant General Michael Barbero, speaking to a Senate subcommittee Thursday, said he is concerned the threat of IEDs will increase next year as international troops begin the process of leaving their bases and pulling out of the country.

“Your situational awareness drops and frankly your movements on the roads become more predictable," said Barbero. "You’re not operating within this large bubble of a large presence. So, to sum up, I believe the IED will continue to be the weapon of choice against our forces.”

U.S. officials are working with Pakistan to try to stop the flow of calcium ammonium nitrate fertilizer from Pakistani factories to insurgents in Afghanistan who use the material to make IEDs.  

Officials said the fertilizer is banned in Afghanistan, but is legal and readily available in Pakistan.

Barbero, who heads the Pentagon’s lead unit for countering IED’s, said calcium ammonium nitrate - routinely used in terrorist attacks - is a global security issue.

“It continues to be used worldwide: Oslo last summer, Mumbai. It is a ubiquitous fertilizer around the world and readily available, very cheap," he said. "A bag of it for about $50, you can turn 6-8 very effective IEDs.”  

U.S. officials are working to encourage international fertilizer distributors to come up with ways to track and secure their products.

More than 60,000 U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan. President Barack Obama aims to have the vast majority of them out by 2014.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
December 14, 2012 12:27 AM
No question that IED cause a terrible toll. From the pictures I have seen, most of the incidents appear to occur near/at populated areas. An in depth analysis of the incident locations may help in determining the likely/prevelant locations/ area types, that are likely to be used for IED planting, Such areas need enhanced surveillance, drones, wireless micro cameras, hiring locals to monitor/report, and offering rewards for the IEDs. It is my understanding that the terrorists pay locals to plant the IEDs, maybe a bounty on IEDs may help reveal some of them. Surveillance must include immediate response to planting activities. The IR properties of disturbed soil/pavement surface, should be different than that of the nearby surface, if observed soon after the activity? Bottom line, enhanced surveillance of required roads, may yield some benefits. Given that most losses/injuries are related to IEDs, more effort needs to be placed on preventing the making/planting of IEDs.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More