Top general expects IED problem to rise in Afghanistan
A cloud of dust rises from an Afghan road after US troops destroy an IED in their path. (Getty Images photo)
December 13th, 2012
05:56 PM ET

Top general expects IED problem to rise in Afghanistan

Deaths and injuries from improvised explosive devices are falling a bit Afghanistan, but IEDs still account for more than 60% of U.S. casualties there, a Senate subcommittee heard Thursday.

"This year nearly 1,900 U.S. casualties have been caused by IEDs," Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero testified, and he was not optimistic about the future.

Pakistan is a major source of the problem, he said.

Evidence shows that most of the IEDs in Afghanistan are made with ammonium nitrate, the fertilizer used in the Oklahoma City bombing, Barbero said, and it is illegal to make or import ammonium nitrate into Afghanistan.

The United States has made several proposals to Pakistan to reduce the threat from fertilizer-based bombs, including putting die in all ammonium nitrate to make it easier for border patrol agents in Afghanistan to spot, or reformulating it so it could still feed crops but wouldn't be explosive.

So far this year, IED attacks in Afghanistan are down 12% to 18%, the general said, but that's compared with last year, the worst year on record. And there is reason to think the number could rise again.

Barbero, who is head of the Joint IED Defeat Organization, said that when the United States began pulling troops out of Iraq, IED attacks went up, and the same could happen over the next 24 months in Afghanistan.

"I'm concerned, like we saw in Iraq, as we draw down forces situational awareness drops. Frankly, your movements on the road become more predictable," he said.

Barbero concluded his testimony in the open portion of the hearing saying, "To sum up, I believe the IED will continue to be the weapon of choice against our forces and we must remain vigilant."

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Senate
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Mike

    You're telling me that a backwards Muslim nation is going back to its stupid terrorist roots again? OH THE SHOCK!....not! Every muslim nation so far, except Turkey because it saw the danger in being blinded by religion, is a hot mess and is not worthy of being allowed self governance.

    December 15, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Reply
  2. lovUSA

    Does Shiva have a lulli?

    December 15, 2012 at 7:50 am | Reply
    • saurov

      Stupid, Shiva is an IT.Thus no lulli.

      December 15, 2012 at 7:52 am | Reply
    • lovUSA

      Aisha loved Shiva's. The lil s.lut did not like Mohammed's who had syphilis.

      December 15, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Reply
      • lovUSA

        Aisha, the little s.lut, was similar to a public telephone which anyone could use for a few coins.

        December 15, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • Mohammed

      Aisha is just like a public telephone – anyone can use for a few coins. Mohammed did not mind Aisha's flirting at all. It was sort of an open marriage between the old fart and the young tramp.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Reply
  3. Steve

    Some serious propaganda here

    December 15, 2012 at 1:24 am | Reply
  4. larry

    CNMN editor: "die" do you mean dye?

    December 14, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Reply
  5. SayanIndia

    Firmly deal with the eastern neighbour of Afghanistan and 90-percent of the problem will be over.

    Sayan.

    December 14, 2012 at 10:41 am | Reply
  6. Hahahahaha

    Good thing there's not an IUD problem, right Generals???? Hahahahahahahahhah

    December 14, 2012 at 9:30 am | Reply
  7. Jameshed Baloch (NaaPakiAssTAN)

    I am not one to mince words. The common denominator to all the bad things happening in the region is my own country PAKISTAN! Yes, folks...PAKISTAN ! Look at all the countries surrounding that are reeling in TERROR because of this country when it itself is reeling under extremism and poverty and intolerance...... Bangladesh, India, Afghanistan, Nepal, and now Myanmar. The mother of all trouble makers ... yes folks, hold on to your chairs !!! is PAKISTAN !!! IT IS NOT COINCIDENCE !! IT IS BY DESIGN and ITS CULT RELIGION BELEIVER CITIZENS !!! Pakistan cannot stop meddling in the affairs of these fledgling nations...financing terrorists...inciting communal violence, fanning religious intolerance. This already has started backfiring at this filthy nation so let this country explode by itself. It is already an inferno that will be uncontrollable. The conditions are ripe for this to happen as Pakistanis all about terrorism that is threatening its survival in its current geo-political form.
    Split Pakistan into three parts, give Balochistan to the Baloch’s the tribal and ungoverned part to Afghanistan and give other half to India. This will make it governable and manageable and this will generate tremendous economic demand for western nations, be democratically more efficient and easy to manage,

    December 13, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Reply
    • Dave Scholl

      We remain extremely appalled and highly concerned about the continued stone age cultural and barbaric social practices prevalent in the name of Islam in my country PAKISTAN. Much to our chagrin, the human rights organizations are either turning a blind eye towards these injustices or are being paid off to look the other way. We are particularly aware of the victims of such practices, namely, young children and women especially those women who are pregnant and are bearing a female embryo. They are being mistreated or simply sacrificed in the name of their Islam. To the civilized world such atrocious behavior is repulsive and is condemned in the strongest words. We urge the Pakistani Muslims to immediately cease and desist from such unacceptable norms. To them we say the world is watching and will see to it that justice prevails.

      December 13, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Reply
      • krm1007 © ™

        My own country Pakistan has become a cancer for this world. A source of financing and inspiration for all terrorists in the region the likes of which have attacked not only Malala but several other poor kids. A place where these extremists seek refuge after attacking neighboring countries and NATO forces and American troops. Pakistan  is a Smithsonian specimen. Like humpty dumpty even USA, NATO and the entire free world are having a tough time holding it together. Living in the shadows of India, defined by China, and punctuated by Terror Organizations such as Al Qaeda, Lashkar E Taibba, Jesh E Muhammad, Jamaad Ud Dawa
        find a meaning for its existence and a place in the new world order. How can it
        stand up? Certainly not on its feet .....perhaps on its knees to seek
        redemption for double crossing USA in Afghanistan and Iraq.For be fooling entire world in the name of war on terror and OBL, hiding it and making sure to loot billions from US taxpayers money.
        Split Pakistan, give the tribal and ungoverned part to Afghanistan and give other half to India. This will make it governable and manageable and this will generate
        tremendous economic demand for western nations, be democratically more efficient and easy to manage,

        December 13, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
      • ShankarH

        We are peoples of Pakistan,
        We s**k the Americans d**k so Hard,
        But get nothing in return except the DRONES F@rt,
        So we tend to kiss the American @ss,
        Again, we get nothing in return except the American gas,
        We are nothing but Bhikaris and are PAKISTANI No Mas.

        December 13, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
      • krm1007 ©™

        Thank you. You are the best. You are so articulate and well read on world issues. I typically copy everything from your messages and repost. Oh, and you may have noticed that I never, ever repeat myself. I never recycle my posts because that would mean that I have no imagination, limited education, lack of understanding and a complete lack of creativity.

        December 13, 2012 at 9:17 pm |

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