US will share classified technology to help Afghanistan allies defend against roadside bombs

By Anne Flaherty, AP
Friday, February 5, 2010

US to share classified technology with allies

ISTANBUL — The U.S. will sell to its NATO allies mine-resistant vehicles and other equipment to protect against roadside bombs in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday

Much of the technology is highly classified and not normally shared. Gates said the U.S. will provide “whatever we can within the limits of the law” to help protect the allies’ troops.

As Gates and other U.S. officials attend NATO meetings here, there is a push to share technology with allies who are sending more of their troops to Afghanistan in coming months.

The technology that the U.S. plans to provide to help allies combat remotely detonated bombs, known as “improvised explosive devices,” includes jammers, robotic equipment and road-clearing equipment.

Gates said the mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles, known as MRAP, can be spared by the U.S. because fewer of them will be needed in Iraq as more troops withdraw from there.

The U.S. won’t sell the all-terrain version that is used for off-road driving. Gates said the lighter vehicles to be shared “are certainly better protection than our allies have right now.”

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