IED's in Afghanistan

Yesterday another soldier from the Black Watch was killed in an IED explosion near Kandahar, my sincere condolences to his family and Comrades- in -Arms.

We are loosing far to many of our young men to these devices and I sincerely hope that the powers that be on the ground are doing everything within their power to minimise the risk.


Lantern Swinger
Four young women too, as far as I know. The devices on the round are sometimes remotely detonated, and very difficult to detect. Believe it or not, if there was a way to stop IEDs, the hierarchy would embrace it.
I am aware that that these devices can be difficult to detect however steps whatever they may be must be taken to prevent the continual drip drip of tragic losses caused by them. Politicians need to get their heads out of their own self interest arses and make sure our lads have whatever it takes regardless of cost.

It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that a British soldier from The 2nd Battalion the Rifles was killed as a result of an explosion during a deliberate operation near Sangin, northern Helmand Province, Afghanistan on the morning of 12 June 2009.


War Hero
I sincerely hope that the powers that be on the ground
Much as I hate the 'on the ground' phrase, I understand it to mean 'in theatre'. Not politicians then but everyone from Corporal up. Operational and tactical levels of warfare are not the province of MPs.

I don't doubt that you care about the welfare of our soldiers and marines (and others) in the 'Stan, but do you have a strategy, tactics or device in mind that would prevent death and injury from IEDs?
Everything that can be done, IS being done, not surprisingly. For every one that goes up and takes out a soldier, several more have been stopped by drills, countermeasures, and tougher V hulled vehicles. UOR's regarding IED's are as good as we can get with modern technology. Leave the politico's alone (in this case) they've done whats needed.

RIP those two most recent losses.
Well that's a turn of events on this forum, not blaming the politicians.

As for the phrases ‘on the ground’ and ‘in theatre’ is there a difference or is it just a personal preference?

Personally I am not over keen on the use of the abdreviation 'the Stan' I understand it to mean Afghanistan.

My only suggestion is and it may well be happening is to cut out the 'be seen' foot patrols unless being on foot is deemed absolutely necessary, being seen patrolling by the local Afghans may have its benefits as far as PR is concerned but reducing losses must take priority, IMO.
Generally on the ground means those out on the ground i.e not in the air or in base and in theatre covers everyone in that theatre of operations.
Finknottle, if you ever want progress in those areas then foot patrols are essential, if you cut down on foot patrols then there would be no point in being there. It is about showing strength - that we are not afraid of the Taliban, which gives heart to both local Afghanis and in theory annoys Terry. It also allows the Patrol leaders to talk to the locals, meaning they not only feel valued, but are far more willing to talk and give information about local taliban movements. If a group has just rolled into your compound in massive Mastiff armoured vehicles you won't be too well disposed towards them, now would you?

Foot Patrols are the very core of any counter insurgency campaign, the very core. It has nothing to do with PR and everything to do with operational necessity. I'm sure any Bootie who reads this will agree.


War Hero
Book Reviewer
There's still the qn about whether we would take fewer casualties if we had more helicopters and so less need to send out vehicles (this otherwise than when patrolling where clearly there have to be boots on the ground and we have to be seen to be occupying the relevant space). I was taught long ago that 'war is not won until infantry occupy ground'. So I also wonder if we have enough troops out there to hold permanently the ground they take, or whether we are retaking at further cost ground we have not been able to keep. This to my mind is about the Treasury over many years, not the CoC.
You are exactly right Seaweed, and it is the the same problem they found in Vietnam, amongst other places - a patrol can go out and talk to local leaders, impose itself, but as soon as they leave to go back to the FOB, Terry moves back in, and has to be forced out again.

Helicopters are always useful, and would lower the need to use convoys to transport goods and replacements. Regards to troops, no, we don't, lol
Increase the number of troops on the ground is of course good but it may well push the taliban back into the tribal areas of Pakistan where they will further destabilise that already highly dangerous country. Until the taliban can be dealt with permanently in the tribal areas little or no progress can be made. The sooner the ANF can take over the security of Afghanistan the better then we can get out of there. As it stands at present our troops are in for a very long costly haul.

WhizzbangDai, yes we need to talk to the locals but how we get to that meeting is my point they will still feel valued whether you arrive on foot or armoured vehicle and if they are on our side do you think they want to see our lads blown up when maybe it could be avoided?
Fink i'm sorry but you show a complete lack of understanding of the conditions 'on the ground' in Afghanistan, and an even greater lack of understanding about historical trends of various COIN ops.

Many paths in Afghan are not traversible by vehicle. Plus, armoured vehicles do a damned good job of alienating the local population, so no, getting there by vehicle isn't the best option. It's not a case of driving to meetings, it's a case of moving around on foot, as a highly visible presence, and letting anyone who wants to come up and talk about whatever problems they may have. If troops were in a vehicle moving past at 30mph how on earth would the average afghan farmer have any time to get his point across. The Soviets made that mistake, and the americans made the exact same mistake in Vietnam, and latterly in Iraq (initially). If you had you're way, all we would do is completely alienate the local population and lose a vital source of HUMINT. Plus mostly the locals could take or leave if one of the guys gets blown up.

Bottom line is this - foot patrols are needed. They are simply the most effective way of gaining the 'hearts and minds' of a local population. It is terrible every time a soldier gets killed by an IED but they are professionals, and that means they are doing the job they have to do, the best way they know how to do it, which based upon our years of experience in counter insurgencies, is funnily enough the most sucessful method.

Yes, it's bad that soldiers keep getting hit by IED's. Everything is done on the ground to avoid such strikes both with technology and soldiers individual skills and drills (5 and 20m checks for example) But they use those methods because that is the optimum way of doing things to attain the goals. Please stop lamenting how bad things are in afghanistan over various different threads - if you care that much please go join DSTL or someone, i'm sure they could do with you're help pointing out where they've been going wrong.

Sorry if this comes across as angry, but I have man-flu :thumbright:
finknottle said:
Yesterday another soldier from the Black Watch was killed in an IED explosion near Kandahar, my sincere condolences to his family and Comrades- in -Arms.

We are loosing far to many of our young men to these devices and I sincerely hope that the powers that be on the ground are doing everything within their power to minimise the risk.
The purchase of Warthog the Viking replacement and the buying of Bushmaster and Mastiff machines off the shelf then modifying against IED's will go a long way to help.

But with the bad guys modifying their IED technology, (the double mine comes to mind), it will be dificult to fight against the threat.
WhizzbangDai, under a month ago I was talking to a Royal who had been blow up and survived he has no wish to return to Afghanistan in his words 'why the feck should I go back there to be blown up I have the superior fighting skills but there is no chance against an IED' Also someone who is near and dear to me is not long back from his 3rd tour and he has been at the very sharp end on each of these occasions. Maybe I am too dim to understand what they told me but I don't think so.

As a matter of interest just when do you think we will be able to get our troops out and at what cost bearing in mind we have been there since 2002? Also how would you deal with the tribal regions of Pakistan that are the tributaries of the insurgency?

Hope you get well soon. :)
I never said it wasn't bad that these things happen, and it's a very successful strategy by Terry. But i've outlined, twice why things cannot change, and why they are as good as they can get with regards to the overall methods being used. But there's only so long I can bang my head against a wall before I get a headache so I can't be bothered to go through it again.

Get our troops out? How long is a piece of string? Bit of a cop out answer, but some of the oremost startegists of IR couldn't give me an answer, so I have no idea, a decade at the very least, probably longer. With regards to Pakistan, it is not the UK's concern, but robust action that must be, first and foremost, be lead by Pakistan itself, in those areas, possibly with US support. IMO it isn't being given nearly the attention it deserves. Afghan and Pakistan are crucially linked, we can't 'win' (wrong word but it'll do) without the other.
Your words, 'Plus mostly the locals could take or leave if one of the guys gets blown up'.

I find your comments above contradictory as you say we should meet and greet the locals who don't give a shite about us.

As for Pakistan I strongly disagree because if as you say it's the USA’s concern then ipso facto it ours as well.

I am not saying we should pull out now but an indication of when the ANA would be ready to take over would be no bad thing as at present very little if anything is being said regarding that.
I'm not going to get drawn into the ridiculous p*ssing contests that these threads often get drawn into. I've made my point, and if you don't agree/understand I don't care. Carry on, I already have a headache

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