The Plank

What We're up Against

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ABC on Now Zad, a town in Helmand:

One area of town is so heavily mined, Marines refer to it as "no leg alley." Since 2005 several Marines have lost limbs there because of small bombs planted apparently not to kill, but to maim.

The principle tactic of Taliban forces in the area is to injure at least one Marine using an IED placed in a wall, doorway or path, and then to draw in more Marines who try to extricate the injured.

To the frustration of the Marines, it's a tactic that has some success. In October, one Marine was killed and eight others were injured after their MRAP hit an IED. After dismounting, they began taking small arms and indirect fire from insurgents.

All the casualties occurred after the Marines dismounted from the vehicle and encountered several secondary IEDs. What started as a routine engagement turned into a 10-hour firefight.

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