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Plenty of work for deploying Guardsmen

Post by Scott Fontaine on Dec. 31, 2008 at 10:14 am |
December 31, 2008 10:14 am

About 30 Washington National Guardsmen leave for training next week and will begin a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan this spring.

And it sounds like the detachment from the 741st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion can’t get there soon enough, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Roadside bombs have become the largest threat to combat troops in Afghanistan, the newspaper reported. The number of incidents and casualties involving the bombs is up 33 percent from a year earlier. They’re the largest single cause of American and NATO troop death and injuries.

Among the job EOD units have is blowing up the bombs discovered during route-clearance missions.

More from the story:

U.S. and NATO officials say that roadside-bomb technology has migrated from Iraq to Afghanistan, with militants here regularly using tactics — such as “daisy-chaining” multiple bombs together to pierce U.S. armor — first developed by fighters in Iraq. Militants detonated nearly 500 roadside bombs in Afghanistan in July and August alone, according to the statistics. Taliban fighters and other extremists have easy access to the large amounts of explosives that have been scattered across Afghanistan since the Soviet invasion and the subsequent Afghan civil war, according to U.S. Col. Jeffrey Jarkowsky, who heads the military task force charged with combating roadside bombs.

The increase in roadside bombs is forcing U.S. commanders here to rely more heavily on MRAPs, which can’t reach many remote villages because it is difficult for them to traverse Afghanistan’s narrow roads and harsh terrain.

(U.S. Army photo)

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