Life in Kabul Amid the Violence. Taliban attacks and bombings within the city of Kabul have increased significantly and the population is constantly on edge. Read "Kabul families struggle to smile amid rising violence", BBC News, August 30, 2015.
Small Victories Count. Angelic Young, worked for the U.S. Department of State for over ten years serving in positions in the counternarcotics and law enforcement fields. From 2001 to 2007 she was a "frontline civilian" and served as the DoS program manager for the Afghanistan National Police Program. Looking back, she says it was hard to recall positive moments but there were some small advances that made a difference. Read her article on the "Family Response Unit" of the Afghan National Police in "In conflict environments, little wins make a difference", devex.com, August 31, 2015.
Sweden, Germany, and "Kill Decisions" in the RS HQs CJOC. Looks like there are some tensions building over the presence of coalition officers being present in the Combined Joint Operations Center (CJOC) of the Resolute Support Mission at the RS compound in Kabul. The CJOC monitors all combat operations in Afghanistan (special operations and drone strikes conducted by the U.S. military and other coalition partners) and liasion and officers from various nations are present during these activities. Some question whether this violates the national caveats that a couple of the nations have. Read more in "Germany and Sweden Are Said to to Help Make Afghan 'Kill Decisions", The New York Times, September 4, 2015.
ALP: More Funding & Scrutiny Needed. "The Afghan Local Police (ALP) are playing an increasingly important security role, but questions remain about the accountability of this new and sometimes controversial force. Speakers at a series of IWPR debates held around Afghanistan in August called for action to curb corruption and abuses in order to ensure these police units enjoyed local support". Read more in "Afghans Want More Funding for Local Police, But More Scrutiny Too", Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR), September 5, 2015.
Militias in Faryab Out of Control? The multiethnic province in the northwest has been troubled by the Taliban for a few years. The Afghan police and the 209th ANA Corps have been unable to secure the province. Vice President Dostum has made it a personal mission to establish security in the province and he is relying on some militias to accomplish this. Read more in "Return of Militias to Afghan Front Lines Sparks Allegations of Abuses", Radio Free Europe, September 5, 2015.
RS HQs Counter-IED Staff. "According to a report by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, in the first six months of 2015, 22 percent of Afghan civilian casualties stemmed from improvised explosive devices. The Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan Counter-IED Directorate is working to change that. The Kabul-based team of coalition service members, Department of Defense civilians and contractors at Resolute Support Headquarters trains, advises and assists Afghan National Defense and Security Forces on how to identify and disarm IEDs and unexploded ordnance and collect evidence following detonation". Read more in "Empowering Afghan citizens to counter IED threats", RS News, September 5, 2015.
AAF CAS Detailed. The Afghan Air Force is increasing its capability to provide close air support but it is still a very small capability. Read more in "Afghan Air Force Hailed for Creative Operations Despite Shortfalls", Khaama Press, September 3, 2015.
13 Civilians Killed in Balkh Province. On Saturday unidentified gunmen stopped civilian vehicles and killed the occupants.
Sunday, September 6, 2015
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
A "SEAL Breacher Study" will explore the way that Navy SEAL brains are affected by repeated blasts. Two researchers will conduct the study. A 'breacher' is someone who uses explosives to blow open a door. The researchers will use specific brain-scanning equipment and will study 10 former Navy SEALs who recently left the service. Read more in "Are Navy SEALs affected by repeated blasts", U-T San Diego, December 10, 2014.
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
"The war in Afghanistan is over, but the battle against the Taliban - and their IEDs - goes on", The Independent, December 29, 2014.
Sunday, November 2, 2014
A suicide car bomber killed eleven members of the Afghan security forces and wounded over 20 civilians near a police checkpoint in Azra district eastern Logar province in Afghanistan. Read more in "Suicide car bomber kills 11 police, soldiers in Afghanistan", Reuters, November 1, 2014.
Saturday, November 1, 2014
The land of Afghanistan is scattered with mines from past conflicts - although many have been policed up there are still thousands lying beneath the surface waiting to be stepped on. In addition, one of the highest casualty producing methods employed by the Taliban is the use of IEDs or Improvised Explosive Devices. IEDs cause injuries among the civilian population as well as among members of the Afghan National Security Forces and International Security Assistance Force. Those Afghans who are wounded by IEDs usually suffer one or more amputations. Read more on this topic in "War amputees in Afghanistan face harsh lives of discrimination and poverty", The Washington Post, October 26, 2014.
Saturday, September 27, 2014
One of the more successful tactics of the Taliban in Afghanistan is the emplacing of IEDs in culverts along the roads that ISAF and ANSF forces travel. For the ANSF IEDs comprised about 50% of the casualties in the counterinsurgency campaign. The U.S. Army is continuing its research into counter IED (C-IED) tactics and techniques. It recently picked several firms to compete in contracts to develop methods of defeating IED emplacement in culverts. The Army awarded the contracts on behalf of the Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) of the Pentagon. The project is known as the Culvert Denial Challenge program. Read more in "Army chooses 20 companies to develop explosives-detection for IEDs hidden in culverts", Military & Aerospace Electronics, September 17, 2014.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Three coalition Soldiers died after a Taliban suicide vehicle rammed into a military convoy in Kabul on Tuesday morning. Read the ISAF news release on this event. A number of Afghan civilians were injured in the attack. The incident took place on the airport road close to Massoud Cirlce at a location near the U.S. embassy and the Afghan Supreme Court. The U.S. embassy sounded its 'duck and cover' alarm and the Taliban have claimed credit for the attack. Some news reports (BBC, New York Times, CNN) are providing initial reports on the bombing. According to icasualties.org one of the victims was from Poland.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies has published a document entitled "Gulf War and Health: Volume 9 - Long-Term Effects of Blast Exposures". You can download the document at the link below. Publication Description:
"Since the United States began combat operations in Afghanistan in October 2001 and then in Iraq in March 2003, the numbers of US soldiers killed exceed 6,700 and wounded 50,500. Although all wars since World War I have involved the use of explosives by the enemy, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq differ from previous wars in which the United States has been involved because of the enemy's use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The use of IEDs has led to an injury landscape different from that of prior US wars. The signature injury of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars is blast injury."Download or read the publication at this link.
Friday, February 10, 2012
The number of IEDs cleared or detonated in Afghanistan during 2011 increased to a new high. The IED instances hit a record high of 16,554 - an increase of 9% from the previous year. IEDs are the number one weapon for the Afghan insurgents. Pakistan is cited as the source for 80% of the fertilizer-based homemade based bombs. Read more in "IED attacks in Afghanistan set record", USA Today, January 26, 2012.
Monday, February 28, 2011
United Kingdom forces are changing their tactics when it comes to disposal of IEDs in Afghanistan. Instead of disarming the IEDs and retrieving the components to study the bombs and extract DNA evidence for later prosecution of the IED network the bombs will now be destroyed in place. The decision whether to disarm or destroy will be left up to the bomb disposal technician on the ground. The Taliban have increased the number IEDs this past year and recent deaths of highly-skilled bomb disposal experts have caused the UK military to relook how IEDs are treated. Read more in "Commanders to change bomb disposal tactics", The Telegraph, February 12, 2011.
Saturday, February 5, 2011
A recent news article from an Australian newspaper describes the IED threat to troops conducting operations in Afghanistan. Read more in "IED poses greatest threat in Afghanistan", The Sydney Morning Herald, February 3, 2011.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Disposing of IEDs in Afghanistan is a dangerous job and it takes special men to do it. The British have specialized teams that receive extensive training in this area. Read about them in "Afghanistan: the Bomb Hunters", The Telegraph, February 2, 2011.
Monday, January 24, 2011
IEDs in Afghanistan continue to be a growing problem resulting in numerous injuries and deaths. This, despite an enormous effort to defeat the IED networks and protect troops with expensive anti-mine vehicles.
Read more in "Afghan insurgents match surge with more IEDs" by USA Today."Insurgents in Afghanistan have answered the Obama administration's troop surge with a surge of their own, planting thousands of roadside bombs that caused more U.S. troop casualties last year than the prior eight years of the war.Since President Obama took office in January 2009 and vowed to end Taliban gains in Afghanistan, casualties from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have nearly quadrupled.In 2010, the bombs wounded 3,366 U.S. troops, which is nearly 60% of the total IED-wounded since the war's start in late 2001, according to Pentagon figures.In nine years of war, 617 American troops have been killed by IEDs and the majority of those deaths came in the past two years. The 268 troops killed by IEDs in 2010 account for more than 40% of all deaths caused by bombs during the war."
Saturday, January 8, 2011
IEDs are a constant source of death and injury for coalition troops fighting in Afghanistan. What frustrates these troops are the Afghan villagers who know who plants the killing IEDs yet do not inform the coalition troops who suffer the losses. Learn more about this complex situation in "Fear of Taliban keeps villagers from reporting IEDs", The Gazette, January 6, 2010.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
A Congressman with war experience in both Iraq and Afghanistan is critical of counter-IED efforts in Afghanistan. He states that ODIN was a successful program in Iraq that targeted the IED cells and that a similar program in Afghanistan would eliminate some of the deaths and injuries due to IEDs. Read more in "Centralized Counter-IED Tactics in Afghanistan", Human Events, November 29, 2010.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
For U.S. troops in Afghanistan IEDs are a constant threat. They have to avoid roads, trails, paths, and gateways to limit the opportunities of stepping on IEDs. Read more on this daily battle in "Hoping to Avoid Bombs and Win Afghan Minds", The New York Times, November 29, 2010.
Friday, December 3, 2010
Social network analysis is being used to help in defeating the IED network. Read more in "U.S. Connects the Dots to catch Roadside Bombers", NPR, December 3, 2010.
Ammonium nitrate is a key ingredient of IEDs in Afghanistan. The coalition forces are attempting to limit the availability to insurgents in order to decrease IED incidents. Read more in "U.S. cracks down on IED chemical in Afghanistan", Army Times, December 2, 2010.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
"WARDAK PROVINCE, Afghanistan – For Afghan civilians, Afghan National Security Forces and International Security Assistance Force personnel traveling throughout Afghanistan, clearing routes of improvised explosive devices is necessary to keep everyone safe and alive. Soldiers assigned to Task Force Slugger’s “Apache” Troop, 3rd Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, conducted route clearance and route reconnaissance in the Maiden Shahr and Nerkh districts of Wardak Province Nov. 18. Nothing was unique about that day’s mission; these Soldiers clear Afghan roads of insurgent-emplaced IEDs day in and day out."Read the rest of the article - "Route-clearance soldiers help to keep Afghan roads safe, build relationships", CJTF-101, November 23, 2010.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
IEDs have become the primary threat to coalition forces conducting operations in Kandahar. The US has spent billions of dollars trying to defeat the IED threat but the Taliban have still managed to deploy the bombs and cause many deaths and injuries. Read more on this topic in "Taliban-placed IEDs threaten lives and stability in Kandahar, Afghanistan", The Christian Science Monitor, November 17, 2010.