A senior Pentagon official says that preventing roadside bombs from killing troops has proven to be tougher in Afghanistan than in Iraq because of the austere conditions there.
Ashton Carter, the Defense Department's chief weapons buyer, told reporters Monday that "we are just beginning to get set in Afghanistan ... in doing everything that we can" because the country is so remote and lacks infrastructure.
Carter and Lt. Gen. Jay Paxton Jr. are leading a new task force focused on diffusing "improvised explosive devices." A Pentagon IED office already exists, although critics say that bureaucratic hurdles have prevented it from being as effective as possible.
Carter says his new job in the next six months is to "do the blocking and tackling" needed to find solutions to the problem.