Petraeus spin on IED war belied by soaring casualties
Added under Afghanistan/Pakistan
Gen. David Petraeus claimed limited success this week in the war within a war over the Taliban's planting of roadside bombs, but official Pentagon data shows the Taliban clearly winning that war by planting more bombs and killing many more U.S. and NATO troops since the troop surge began in early 2010.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal published Tuesday, Petraeus asserted that the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by the Taliban had "flattened" over the past year and attributed that alleged success to pressures by the U.S. military, and especially the increased tempo of Special Operations Forces raids against Taliban units.
Data provided by the Pentagon's Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), however, shows that IEDs planted by Afghan insurgents killed nearly 40 percent more U.S. and NATO troops in the first eight months of 2010 than in the comparable period of 2009.
The data also show that Taliban IEDs wounded 2,025 U.S. and NATO troops in the first eight months of this year–almost twice the 1,035 wounded in the same months last year.
In the Journal interview, Petraeus said that the data on violent incidents in Afghanistan indicate a slowly improving security situation.
Without putting his statement in quotation marks, Journal reporters Julian E. Barnes and Matthew Rosenberg reported Petraeus as claiming that the use of IEDs "has generally flattened in the past year". While crediting U.S. military operations with this alleged improvement, Petraeus said it is too soon to say that they are the sole reason for this alleged flattening of IED incidents.
But the data for 2009 and 2010 provide no support for Petraeus's "flattened" description.
Sources: Inter Press Service
Read the full story here.