In troubling news for the status of the war on terror, the number of US military personnel killed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) increased this summer, according to a report by Foreign Policy.
IEDs killed or injured 3,043 people in 1,143 separate incidents in Afghanistan from the beginning of April to the end of June of this year. Compared to the same period in 2016, the numbers mark a 17 percent increase in deaths. In comparison with the 90 days before that three-month period, the numbers show an 8-percent increase in IED incidents as well as a 39-percent uptick in attacks that resulted in death and injury.
IEDs have long been the weapon of choice for radical jihadists, as they can be made at home and outfitted to cause damage in a vast array of settings.
Afghanistan was the only country in Central Command to see an increase in both incidents and casualties from IEDs compared to the previous 90 days, the JIDO report says. Iraq in the same period saw 15 percent fewer incidents and 30 percent fewer casualties than it had in the previous 90 days.
Anthony Cordesman, an Afghanistan expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), told FP that IEDs gives the Taliban “visibility, power, and influence,” adding that the insurgents may use the weapon more frequently as they lose ground controlling cities in the war-torn state.
All the more reason for Trump’s hard line on Iran and state-sanctioned terrorism in the Middle East to begin taking hold. According to the Pentagon, Trump is set to send 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan to bolster the US force of 11,000 already on the ground.
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