More IEDs killing fewer troops

Washington Post:

A 30 percent rise in the planting of improvised explosive devices by Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan this year has resulted in more wounded American and coalition troops, according to newly compiled Pentagon statistics. But fewer of them are dying from the attacks.

Through August, there have been 1,062 effective IED attacks against coalition forces that killed 292 and wounded 2,178 others. In the first eight months of 2009, there were only 820 such attacks that killed 322 and wounded 1,813, according to the latest figures released by the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO).

IEDs remain the main cause of troop deaths in the war with more than half the coalition 531 fatalities so far this year coming from the roadside bombings.

The number of IEDs that were found and cleared before harming coalition forces also rose this year, from 4,226 last year to 4,650 this year. The report indicates that although IEDs remain the major threat to U.S. and allied forces, the multibillion-dollar effort to counter them is having some success.

One reason given for the drop in deaths is protection provided by upgraded armored fighting vehicles now being used in Afghanistan.

A military spokesman estimated that Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles "have reduced deaths and injuries by 30 percent" from January 2009 to July 2010, according to a recent story in USA TODAY.

...
This means the Taliban have to build more bombs and dig more pits for them to have less results.  At some point that is going to cause a moral problem if it already has not.  We appear to be tracking our progress in Iraq where we greatly reduced the casualties from IEDs.  I suspect that one reason we are clearing more of them is that we have better surveillance  of areas where IEDs are planted and are able to put snipers in place to deal with the diggers.

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