The number of IED attacks against British forces has risen from an average of 27% of attacks in 2007 to an estimated 55% so far this year. A significant proportion of the 145 British service personnel killed on active duty in Afghanistan have been killed by improvised roadside bombs and some of the raw material to build the bombs are coming from other British citizens.
According to David Miliband, the British Foreign Secretary British Muslims are sending/ smuggling the remote control electronics used to blow up these roadside bombs:
British Muslims ‘providing Taliban with electronic devices for roadside bombs’
By Con Coughlin in Helmand
The devices, which enable Taliban fighters to detonate roadside bombs by remote control, are either sent to sympathizers in the region, or carried by volunteers who fly to Pakistan and then make their way across the border.
Details of how British electronic components have been found in roadside bombs were given to David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, when he visited British troops at their military compound at Lashkagar, in Helmand province, earlier this week.
In a briefing on British operations in southern Afghanistan by Brigadier Gordon Messenger, the Royal Marine commander of the British battlegroup, Mr Miliband was shown examples of the crude, home-made devices that are being used in attacks against British patrols.
They included mobile phones filled with explosives, which could kill or seriously injure British soldiers patrolling on foot, and more sophisticated devices that can be used against military vehicles.
Explosives experts who have examined the devices say they have found British-made electronic components that enable Taliban insurgents to detonate their home-made, road-side bombs by remote control.
The electronic devices smuggled into Afghanistan from Britain range from basic remote control units that are normally used to fly model airplanes to more advanced components that enable insurgents to conduct attacks from up to a mile away from British patrols.
“We have found electronic components in devices used to target British troops that originally come from Britain,” a British explosives officer told Mr Miliband during a detailed briefing on the type of improvised explosive device (IED) used against British forces.
When asked how the components had reached Afghanistan, the officer explained that they had either been sent from Britain, or physically brought to Afghanistan by British Muslims who had flown over.
The disclosure is the latest in a string of suggestions from British commanders about the connections between British Muslims and violence in Afghanistan.
In August, Brigadier Ed Butler, the former commander of UK forces in Afghanistan, told the Telegraph that there are “British passport holders” in the Taliban ranks. Other officers believe their soldiers have killed British Muslims fighting alongside the Taliban.
And last year, it was revealed that RAF Nimrod surveillance planes monitoring Taliban radio signals in Afghanistan had heard militants speaking with Yorkshire and Midlands accents
British commanders have recorded a significant rise in the use of IEDs during the past two years, partly the result of the success British forces have recorded in defeating the Taliban in conventional attacks.
“We’ve really hit the Taliban hard, and the only way they can respond is to rely more heavily on IEDs and similar weapons,” said a British officer.
The number of IED attacks against British forces has risen from an average of 27 percent of attacks in 2007 to an estimated 55 percent so far this year. A significant proportion of the 145 British service personnel killed on active duty in Afghanistan have been killed by improvised roadside bombs.
British military officers say the devices used in Afghanistan are not as sophisticated as those used against British forces in Iraq, and that Taliban insurgents need to be able to physically monitor British patrols when carrying out attack.
Details of the British link to IEDs were provided to Mr Miliband during his 48-hour fact-finding mission to Afghanistan earlier this week where he met military and government officials to assess the level of progress being made by British and coalition forces as the current military deployment enters its fourth year.
British officials are expected to come under pressure from U.S. President Barack Obama to add to the 8,300 British service personnel currently serving in Afghanistan as Washington prepares to undertake a military surge similar to the one that was so successful in Iraq.
Mr Obama has already pledged to send an extra 17,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan this year, and he is now expected to pressure other Nato countries – including Britain – to follow suit.
The original 2001 Western invasion of Afghanistan was triggered by al-Qaeda’s September 11 attacks on the US.
The Taliban regime in Kabul had sheltered the al-Qaeda leadership, which is now based in the lawless Afghan-Pakistan border region.
Some Western intelligence agencies believe Osama bin Laden’s group is now able to operate largely freely in the area.
However, bin Laden is facing an ideological revolt by one of al-Qaeda’s founding leaders who blames, blaming him for “every drop” of blood spilt in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Sayyid Imam al-Sharif, who goes by the nom de guerre Dr Fadl, helped bin Laden create al-Qaeda and then led an Islamist insurgency in Egypt in the 1990s. But after a change of heart, he has launched a public denunciation of the group.
His latest book, which has been serialised in newspapers across the Arab world, amounts to a frontal attack on al-Qaeda’s ideology and on the personal failings of bin Laden and his Egyptian deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.