first published on January 1, 2018 by Josh
Improvised Explosive Devices were, and still are, a rampant problem in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq. They are a staple of the Global War on Terror, and anyone who has served in any ground combat capacity during the GWoT will generally have at least one up close and personal encounter with one. These booby-traps, often placed by the enemy in areas that are highly trafficked by ISAF troops, are meant to maim and terrify troops, and they can remain in place long after the enemy has been cleared from an area.
In this video, ISAF troops are conducting a partnered mission with the Afghan National Army through an area that has been cleared of Taliban forces. As they are moving down the road to their destination, the ANA commander spots a Taliban flag on top of a mountain top. The ANA commander then halts the convoy, and tries to get the American forces he is working with to clear the mountainside in order to allow them to retrieve the flag and remove it. The Americans tell the ANA commander that it is a bad idea, and that they should just leave it alone until they have an explosive ordinance disposal team on hand to assist them in the removal of the flag, because it is probably booby-trapped with a victim actuated IED.
The Afghan commander ignores his partnered troop’s warning and makes the decision to send two of his soldiers up the mountainside anyways. Once they get to the top of the mountain, they waste no time in trying to remove the booby-trapped flag. It instantly detonates killing both soldiers. Their lives are wasted at the expense of removing a singular Taliban flag.
There is no way to know what will be the Improvised Explosive Device of the next war we are in. It is certain however, that whatever new booby-traps our enemy concocts, we will discover it and learn about it in blood. Then, we will move forward and figure out how to defeat that device in the same manner that we did the IED. While there is never a way to fully defeat these types of traps, adapting to them and educating each other about them is our first best defense.
The Afghan soldiers in this video learned a lesson in blood. One their American counter-parts had already learned throughout their operations in other parts of Afghanistan, and throughout Operation Iraqi Freedom. Hopefully this lesson will teach them a valuable piece of information, and prevent them from making the same mistakes again in the future.