Information Warfare: Telling Lies About IEDs and Mines

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July 24, 2007: The UN has chastised journalists reporting on Afghanistan, for confusing landmines and IEDs (improvised explosive devices). The Taliban are using many more IEDs of late. The UN does not want people thinking that the UN mine clearing effort is at fault. The UN Mine Action Center for Afghanistan has, for the last 18 years, poured millions of dollars into the country, and many others in Africa and Asia, to remove millions of Cold War era landmines. Most of these were supplied by Russia and China, and China is still a major provider of landmines, for anyone who can pay. In Afghanistan, the demining effort has, so far, removed 327,000 anti-personnel mines, nearly 19,000 anti-tank mines and nearly seven million pieces of unexploded ordnance (shells, grenades). The demining effort should be finished in another five years. Nearly all the 8,500 de-miners are Afghans, and even the Taliban leave them alone.

The recent UN press release about IEDS did contain one error. The UN claimed the IED, especially roadside bombs, were a recent phenomenon. That is not true, IEDs have been in use for over a century. Their widespread use in Iraq was the result of seven million tons of ammo Saddam had bought and stored all over the country. The proliferation of wireless communications devices (cell phones, garage door openers and so on) over the last few decades has made it easier to detonate IEDs, and that has made them more popular.

 


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