Insurgents taking ideas from Iraq

The bomb blast that killed six Canadian soldiers yesterday was designed to defeat the military’s supposedly blast-proof armoured vehicles, and points to a more resilient insurgency that has adopted the tactics being used in Iraq, says a retired Canadian general.


Alain Pellerin said the roadside bomb was a “triple mine” — three explosive devices stacked on top of one another — designed to penetrate the heavy armour that usually protects coalition forces travelling and fighting in Afghanistan.


Pellerin said he was not sure if yesterday’s incident marked the first time the triple mine had been used in Afghanistan.


“I’ve read about similar things in Iraq. The same sort of principle has been used so that you have more of an impact on the vehicle that you want to hit or destroy.”


The RG-31 Nyala the Canadian soldiers were travelling in was one of 75 the Canadian Forces purchased between 2005 and 2006 to replace the Mercedes G-Wagon and provide better protection.

The deaths yesterday were not the first inside an RG-31. A Canadian soldier was killed on Oct. 7, 2006, in one.

The Nyala is the vehicle of choice for American forces in Iraq, and is favoured by the Canadians, as well, Pellerin said.

“They’re one of the best vehicles built specifically for that purpose,” he said, explaining they were built in the 1980s by the South Africans, who were fighting in Angola.

Vehicle design

  • The Nyala is designed with a ‘V-shaped’ bottom with as few angles and protrusions as possible to allow the force of a blast to flow around the structure of the vehicle.