On Jan. 7, someone strolled into a supply room at Camp Eggers, a coalition base near the U.S. embassy in downtown Kabul, pocketed two sets of car keys and walked out undetected. Sometime over the next 24 hours, the thieves drove away with two black-painted, armored Toyota Land Cruisers belonging to the U.S. Army’s 26th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, a unit that escorts coalition personnel around Kabul.
Archived posts from category ‘Bombs’
Behind the Biggest Bombs on Earth
It made news last week when the PANTEX plant in Texas completed dismantling one of the last Cold War monsters, an early-’60s vintage USAF B-53 nuclear gravity bomb. Using the same “physics package” as the Titan II ICBM warhead, the B-53 was a bunker-buster fitted with huge parachutes and an aluminum-honeycomb crumple zone; its 9 megatons of fission and fusion power could pulverize granite mountains and reduce whole cities to radioactive ash. Within strategic-arms treaties, the U.S. managed retain a few in reserve until the late 1990s — when smaller, more accurate weapons were deployed in the same bunker-busting role.
A deadly suicide attack on a NATO convoy in Kabul at the weekend underscored a key vulnerability in the alliance’s practices. A vehicle filled with explosives rammed a heavily-armored transport traveling along a predictable route. Seventeen NATO soldiers and civilians died in the blast.
Cartoon Movement: Boom!
Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) have become the number-one killer of NATO troops in Afghanistan. The lasting effects for those who have survived the powerful blasts include memory loss and changes in personality, the true toll of which we have yet to learn.
After I wrote about being bombed while riding in a MaxxPro Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle in Afghanistan, a representative of the vehicle’s manufacturer emailed me to ask if I would mind answering a few questions for the company newsletter.
C-SPAN: IED Explosion in Afghanistan
Freelance video journalist David Axe was embedded with the U.S. Army in Logar Province, south of Kabul, when the military vehicle he was traveling in was struck by an IED. See the complete program here.
Staff Sgt. Marcus Jimenez was pissed. On March 19, he had led a force of U.S., Afghan and Jordanian soldiers into the village of Pakhab-e’Shana, in eastern Afghanistan’s Logar province, with what Jimenez considered the best of intentions. While the Americans conferred with village elders, the Jordanians and Afghans would inspect the town’s four mosques, to see if there were any repairs NATO and the Afghan government might help pay for. In addition, the Americans and Jordanians had some soccer balls to hand out.
With a deadly bomb possibly lying just inches under their feet, any sane person would — oh, I don’t know — run away. But these uniformed madmen have a job to do. They run toward a potential explosive, with nothing but steady hands and body armor to protect them.
Fifteen days after twin suicide bombings killed 76 people in Kampala, Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni used an African Union summit in the capital city to declare war on the Somali group responsible for the July 11 bombing — as well as on foreign fighters aiding the group. “The terrorists should be wiped out of Africa,” Museveni said on Monday. “Let us act and sweep them out of Africa and to where they came from in Asia and the Middle East.”
Sick of this back-and-forth from BP and the Coast Guard on containment caps yet? After fears that leaks in the device could make the Gulf Coast spill even worse, national incident commander Thad Allen promised on Thursday that it was merely a “precursor” to plugging the oil. If the latest test doesn’t work (again), could the next best option be sending a mini-nuke into the water? Scientists and engineers tell The Politics Blog that the Department of Homeland Security is interested in bunker-busting techniques — not least of all because the plan could sidestep BP with existing U.S. government technology — and that inducing a massive explosion in the Gulf might not be as crazy as it sounds. Here’s why.
It was a scorched-Earth campaign, the likes of which the world had never seen.