Smoke rises over the sight of an IED detonated by the Explosive Ordnance Disposal team during route clearing procedures on March 9. EOD works with Alpha Company, 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 10th Mountain Division, Task Force Spartan, to ensure freedom of movement through the region. (SGT. ROB FRAZIER / ARMY)
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While numbers of home-made bomb incidents continue to plummet in Iraq, the number of incidents involving the deadly devices in Afghanistan has increased three-fold in the past two years, according to June statistics from the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization.
U.S. forces saw 736 IED incidents in Afghanistan in June, up dramatically from 234 incidents in June 2007.
Casualties from IEDs in Afghanistan have also increased. In June, 23 military personnel died from IED attacks and 166 troops wounded. Two years ago in June, 15 were killed and 43 wounded in IED attacks.
This "summer's activity has been the highest on record," said JIEDDO Command Sgt. Major Todd Burnett, who spent the month of June in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The attacks are in stark contrast to Iraq, which has seen IED incidents plunge from 2,588 in June 2007 to 260 in June this year.
IED casualties in Iraq are down from 83 troops killed and 572 wounded in June 2007 to eight soldiers killed and 59 wounded in June this year.
Burnett attributes the progress in Iraq to JIEDDO's focus in improving the training and equipment troops receive before deploying there.
Gaining control over IEDs in Afghanistan will be a new challenge for JIEDDO.
"Obviously, it's a much different fight based on terrain, the geography and the weather," Burnett said.