IEDs Proliferate from Iraq, Afghanistan

By Matthew Harwood

Improvised explosive devices (IED), a common weapon of insurgents and terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan, are proliferating to other conflicts around the world, reports USA Today.

IED use has become so widespread that government officials and military experts consider them the weapon of choice among international terrorist organizations. Terrorists favor IEDs for two reasons: fear and attention.

According to USA Today:

"We've got to beat this weapon system because the enemy is using it for a strategic reason: to change our decisions," said Army Lt. Gen. Thomas Metz, who leads JIEDDO. "What you don't want to happen is for that number to go to 2,000 or 3,000 around the world outside of Afghanistan and Iraq."

Terrorists realize the IEDs can have more impact than attacks with small weapons, [Irene]Smith [a spokeswoman for the Pentagon's Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO)] said. "Things that go boom draw more attention than things that go bang," she said in an e-mail.

HMS Ltd., a firm that provides counter-IED training and an open source database of terrorist incidents to the U.S. government and other organizations and businesses, reports that 200 to 300 IED attacks occur every month outside of Afghanistan and Iraq.

In February, the firm says IED attacks occurred in Sri Lanka, Somalia, India, Venezuela, Thailand, among others. Last year, IED attacks outside Afghanistan and Iraq happened most frequently in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Russia and Nepal, according to the Pentagon's Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), which relies on HMS Ltd.'s TRITON reports for its data.


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