Improvised roadside bombs caused 75% of all casualties among coalition forces in Afghanistan in the first two months of this year, up from 50% two years ago, reports USA Today. The rate of casualties from IEDs is also higher than at any time in Iraq, calling for urgent pleas for more armored vehicles. Robert Gates, the defense secretary, meets today with a task force aiming to speed mine-resistant vehicles to troops.
IEDs in Afghanistan are not only more numerous but more powerful, and commanders estimate they will need more than 3,000 specially equipped vehicles to combat the new threat. According to a Pentagon document, while the use of IEDs is still rising, insurgents in Afghanistan are also relying on direct fire, ambushes and rocket-propelled grenades. Coalition forces have suffered a record 800 attacks a month in 2009, up from 600 in 2008.