Turkmenistan - Pentagon officials today released satellite images of what they say is a new weapons-grade mud enrichment facility north of Balkanabat, in Turkmenistan. Military experts say the brown, highly-refined paste is virtually undetectable, and could easily be smuggled aboard an aircraft or into a public lavatory, where it could cause massive pipe stoppages.
Unlike IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices), IMBs, or Improvised Mud
Bombs do not contain any volatile explosives or electronic triggering devices, and are not dependent on batteries or an external power source. If an IMB dries out, all that's needed to get it working again is a little water.
"What makes this technology so dangerous is that anyone can use it," says U.S. defense analyst Berd McConger. "No special training is required. Plus, these things could be lying around dormant for weeks or even months, ready for use. You just pick it up and throw it. Add a little water, perhaps, if it's dried out."
Aside from its simplicity and east of use, the material can be molded into virtually any shape.
"We've seen these things disguised as virtually anything you can imagine," says McConger. "The latest trend seems to be IMBs shaped like women, because they've been told that large breasts are irresistible to Americans."
Small, portable IMBs are still the most popular, however. When wielded by an insurgent with a skillful throwing arm, the effects can be devastating.
The Pentagon announcement came less than a week after a wave of IMB attacks near Balkanabat fouled windshield wipers and left drivers scrambling to roll up their windows.