The IED Plus Up
Yesterday’s NY Times reported that the Pentagon was nearing a decision to send an additional 3,000 US troops to counter the growing improvised explosive device (IED) threat in Afghanistan. This addition would be irrespective of whatever GEN McChrystal asks for later this month as part of his overall strategy for the region. The IED problem has grown , according to Pentagon estimates, 400% over the past two years. It was further stated by a Pentagon spokesman that the majority of deaths are now caused by IED’s. This disturbing trend demonstrates the nature of the Taliban strategy in Afghanistan today which is avoiding direct confrontation with the larger number of troops that are now in Afghanistan in favor of remotely detonated devices. This being the first case where one can point to a similarity between Iraq and Afghanistan, it shows that there is “mirror imaging” happening in respect to how insurgencies can learn from previous experiences. It has always been a dangerous game in trying to compare these two theaters of war but in this particular case there are lessons learned scenario where the Taliban are employing the tactics that where employed in Iraq. It was just two years ago the IED’s where rare instances in Afghanistan, but today it accounts for the majority of violence inflicted upon Coalition forces. The plus up in an anti-IED force is both needed but worrisome as it appears the war has entered a new phase of violence at a time that Afghanistan can hardly afford it.