The sun‘s glow is highlighting the Hindu Kush mountains to the east. Lamps begin to light cracked and dirty shop windows. The putrid smell of burnt trash fills the air as Afghans warm their homes and get ready to start another day. Meanwhile in AO Raptor, the 101st Airborne Division leaves the gate at Jalalabad Airfield in performance of route clearance duties along AH 1 which runs from Torkham gate to Kabul and is the main supply line from Pakistan. The ground rumbles as a buffalo, two huskies, and several MRAPS loaded with EOD personnel, mechanics, and medics roll out onto the busy highway all in an effort to ensure that commerce is unaffected on this 47 mile stretch of two lane road. The task is performed every day.
Meanwhile in Texas, we get in our cars and trucks, turn on the radios, hook up the Bluetooth and scarf down a breakfast burrito blissfully unaware of the perils the terrorists are inflicting on everyday life in the Nangarhar valley.
Unfortunately, those days may be numbered. Terrorists are in Texas. The blatant “guns blazing” attack last week in Garland lacked true preparation and patience that our enemies are capable of.
There are generally two ways to place a roadside IED. First, some IEDs are placed under cover of night and detonated the next day. Those are the ones that are easy to find. The ground is disturbed. There are heat signatures on the roadway. Someone sees suspicious activity and reports it.
The second kind of IED placement is the kind that is almost impossible to detect. They are placed in the roadway before it is a road, are placed by a road worker while the roadbed is being constructed or placed in the roadbed at night when no workers are present. Crews arrive the next day and pave asphalt or concrete over the buckets of easily obtainable explosives so that they are virtually undetectable.
Days, months, or even years pass until the time arrives for the terrorist to go to where they placed the device, find the wires hidden in the ditch and hook up a remote or a pressure plate to detonate it at just the right time to inflict the most damage.
My biggest fear for America is that this is what we have in store next. No one has been paying attention to the infrastructure projects. We know ISIS has operatives in the continental United States. How many of them have worked on the highway? How many have snuck into a road project at night to bury a 5 gallon bucket in the ground?
The scenario played out each and every day in Nangarhar province is a reality in the making for every town in America, but in the United States, we have more than one road.