story by: Tom Vanden Brook – USA Today
photo courtesy of: Manpreet Romana/AFP/Getty
U.S.-led troop deaths from makeshift bombs in Afghanistan are dropping sharply even though the number of improvised explosive devices planted by insurgents are near record levels, Pentagon data show.
Now, less than half of troop deaths come from the bombs, although there has been a 5 percent spike in homemade bomb incidents since March, according to the Pentagon. The high number of incidents highlights continuing problems choking off the supply of bomb parts from Pakistan and a resilient Taliban, according to a senator and military analyst.
Part of the decline in deaths can be traced to the changing nature of combat there. Attacks have shifted from southern to eastern Afghanistan where allied forces are focusing on insurgents in rugged, mountainous terrain. Troops in the east tend to travel in armored vehicles, which have experienced a 17 percent increase in attacks over the last three months, according to the Pentagon’s Joint IED Defeat Organization. In the south, troops tend to touch off bombs while on foot.
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