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Kabul Korrespondence

Fresh, factual, and funky view of Afghanistan and the surrounding Central Asian region

TALIBAN FACE APACHE APOCALYPSE

Monday, March 17, 2008

Daily Star 
By Neil Chandler 
16th March 2008
The British Army is about to unveil its most destructive weapon yet for the war in Afghanistan. Apache helicopters will be armed with missiles that kill the enemy by crushing their lungs, sinuses, ears and intestines. The next-generation weapons have been slammed by human rights campaigners as “particularly brutal”. But gunship crews in Afghanistan are looking forward to delivery of the AGM-114N Hellfire thermobaric missile. They say it will give them extra ability to kill Taliban hiding in caves and bunkers. Makers of the missile boast it can destroy the first floor of a building – and everyone in it – while leaving upper floors untouched. When it hits its target it releases a fine cloud of aluminium particles which spreads and burns far more effectively than a normal bomb.


A CIA report said: “The effect of the explosion within confined spaces is immense. “Those near the ignition point are obliterated. Those at the fringe are likely to suffer many internal and thus invisible injuries, including burst eardrums and crushed inner ear organs, severe concussions, ruptured lungs and internal organs and possible blindness.”
Another US government report said: “It is possible victims are not rendered unconscious by the blast but instead suffer before suffocating.”
Thermobaric weapons are horrible, critics say. A February 2000 Human Rights Watch report said: “These weapons kill and injure in a particularly brutal manner over a wide area.” The Ministry of Defence is touchy on the use of thermobaric weapons. It has denied a new shoulder-launched bunker-busting missile is thermobaric, instead calling it an “enhanced blast munition”. Back in 2002 then MoD minister Lewis Moonie said: “There are no thermobaric weapons in service with the British Army and we have no plans to procure any.”
posted by Travis, 9:56 am

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