The devices have been the insurgents’ preferred weapon for several years, but their use rose 14 per cent year-on-year, in the second quarter of 2011.
Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) caused the majority of Nato casualties in 2010 and their indiscriminate use has been blamed by the United Nations for contributing to record civilian casualties.
From April to June, 3,845 exploded or were found, according to the Pentagon’s Joint IED Defeat Organisation (JIEDDO). Coaliton killed and wounded from the bombs rose 15 per cent yearly to 1,248 over the same period.
In June, use of roadside bombs was 25 per cent higher than average.
Most of the bombs are of homemade explosive, but attempts to block the import of ammonium nitrate fertiliser used in its manufacture have failed to stop the increase in devices.
In the deadliest day for American forces in the nearly decade-long war in Afghanistan, insurgents shot down a Chinook transport helicopter on Saturday, killing 30 Americans, including some Navy Seal commandos from the unit that killed Osama bin Laden, as well as 8 Afghans, American and Afghan officials said.
Cash from part of a $2.16 billion U.S. transportation contract in Afghanistan has ended up in the hands of Taliban insurgents, the Pentagon said on Monday.
The disclosure is another example of the persistent difficulty the U.S. military has in keeping its massive war funding from reaching the insurgents it is fighting in the unpopular, decade-old Afghan war.
The United States is spending more than $6 billion a month in the conflict.
Pentagon officials have repeatedly warned of the need to tighten controls on U.S. contracts and last year announced the creation of a task force to crack down on misuse of funds by contractors, some of whom pay Taliban protection money.
Pentagon spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan said the discovery of the siphoning of funds from the trucking contract was part of that previously announced effort. He said the U.S. military’s Central Command, which oversees the Afghan war, aimed to sign a new trucking contract in September.
“Central Command’s contracting command is working on a new Afghan trucking contract to ensure greater transparency into subcontractors,” Lapan told reporters.
An 8 year-old boy was hanged by militants in Afghanistan’s Helmand province after the boy’s father — a police officer in the southern city of Gereshk — refused to comply with militants’ demands to provide them with a police vehicle, officials said.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the hanging, saying “this action is not permitted in any culture or any religions,” according to a statement Sunday, which provided details of the incident.
Karzai said he has ordered local authorities to root out the militants and arrest them “as soon as possible.”
The boy was kidnapped Friday. It was unclear when he was killed.
Britain’s connection to jihad in South Asia was once again cast into the spotlight with the capture of two British nationals with alleged links to the Taliban in Herat. The man and woman remain unidentified, and the British Ministry of Defense and Foreign Office have both merely confirmed that they were British nationals. Stories have started to circulate in the press that they were plotting an attack back in the U.K. and it seems that they were dual Afghan-British nationals known to MI5, though other reports indicate they may be of Pakistani origin. Whether they were planning an attack in the U.K. or not, the prospect of British nationals fighting British soldiers in Afghanistan is something that has long worried British officials. Either way, their presence shows the connection between the U.K. and fighting in Afghanistan continues to exist, a demonstration of how ingrained extreme ideas continue to be in the U.K.
Back to the future… in this case a very realistic film:
The resurgence of Maulvi Faqir Mohammed — also one of the Pakistani Taliban’s top commanders — illustrates the resilience of militants fighting to topple the U.S.-allied Pakistani government and the growing problem of sanctuaries in eastern Afghanistan that allow fighters to elude the army’s grasp.
“We will return and enforce the golden system of Islam,” Mohammed said in a recent radio broadcast from his new base in Afghanistan. “All of those who have turned their backs on us — like we are gone for good — should seek forgiveness from Allah.”
Militants and their supporters in Pakistan have long used illegal FM radio stations to spread their message and incite violence against the government. The tactic is hard to counter because the equipment needed is cheap and easily transportable.