Iranian mines used in attacks on Brits in Afghanistan



The underside of armoured vehicles deployed in Helmand has proven to be highly susceptible to mines buried by the Taleban, and the Ministry of Defence is preparing to add extra armour to key vehicles. The relatively new Viking armoured troop-carrying vehicle – which was built for the Royal Marines for use in Norway but is now being used across desert routes in northern Helmand – has proven to be vulnerable to the mines, which are suspected of being supplied from Iran. Five Vikings have been destroyed by mines.

Although the Viking is well armoured on its sides, the mines have penetrated the armour underneath, placing the driver at greatest risk. The Army faced the same risk in the case of Warrior armoured vehicles in Iraq, which, for similar reasons, were found to be vulnerable to mines. An extra layer of armour had to be fitted to the belly of the Warriors. MoD sources said that similar steps were being taken to improve the armour on the Vikings.

An MoD spokesman said: “Viking is a very agile vehicle which obtains significant protection from being able to go where many other vehicles can’t. It is hard [for the Taleban] to predict and target. We are working on increasing its protection against mines.”

Captain James Glancy, who commands the Royal Marines Armoured Support Company and is in charge of the Vikings, told The Times recently: “The last dozen casualties, dead and wounded, have been caused by mines.”


The threat to the British military vehicles from mines and improvised explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan has been one of the most controversial issues facing the MoD since the two campaigns began. A new vehicle, the Jackal, a seven-tonne “beast” capable of riding over mines, is being delivered to Afghanistan, but it will be some time before it can be used widely.


The US has been converting to mine resistant vehicles in Iraq and some of them may become available for Afghanistan if the draw down of troops in Iraq continues after September. Current operational success in Iraq would suggest the possibility. The MRAP's are also being beefed up on teh sides to thwart the Iranian EFPs.


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