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Troops facing new IED dangers

Editor’s Note: The following report is excerpted from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the premium online newsletter published by the founder of WND. Subscriptions are $99 a year or, for monthly trials, just $9.95 per month for credit card users, and provide instant access for the complete reports.

Marks of IED (U.S. military photo)

A new Pentagon document reported to be confidential reveals Taliban improvised explosive devices, a major problem for U.S. and coalition service members, now are being made from plastic and other nonmetallic components, making them almost impossible to detect, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

The Pentagon is showing a level of anxiety not seen before over the IEDs, which are described as smaller, simpler and less complicated.

The report said the Taliban is using two nonmetallic ingredients of a salt solution and carbon for IED trigger mechanisms. Because the carbon comes from batteries, the lack of the battery casing makes them nonmetallic and makes them harder to find.

Security experts believe the IEDs are especially effective in Afghanistan’s terrain. Since most roads are unpaved, and there is much debris on the sides of the routes, it is easy to hide IEDs.

“U.S. troop movements are split between foot and mounted patrols,” according to the Pentagon report. “The terrain and deplorable road conditions often necessitate that foot patrols be conducted on uneven terrain.”

As a consequence, the report said, the Taliban has taken advantage and is littering areas with IEDs in an effort to maintain control.

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“There are few paved roads, which means planting a device in or near a road is easier and harder to detect by visual inspection,” said military analyst Robert Maginnis. “The increase in Taliban use of IEDs is due to the increased coalition forces in country, which forced the relatively small Taliban force to adjust its tactics. It stretches the (Taliban) force’s impact.”

The report added that IEDs offer advantages for a small force like the Taliban against the superior force of the U.S. and NATO troops.

It said the IEDs are small and can be transported and placed for a surprise attack easily. They can be camouflaged and don’t require remotely controlled devices and “are extremely difficult to detect with current U.S. minesweepers.”

In this regard, the Taliban insurgents reportedly are avoiding detection through electronic countermeasures by using long pull-cords rather than using an electronic signal such as a cell phone to detonate the IEDs.

The Islamist militants combine the IED capabilities with tactics of not directly confronting coalition troops unless they have an advantage. Instead, they watch their movements and then plant the IEDs to be detonated from a distance, thereby minimizing direct engagement.

The grim statistics bear out the effectiveness of the strategy, which one defense expert described as “guys who from all appearances are from three centuries ago.”

“But we can’t figure out how to beat them,” the expert added.

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