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Fears bomb network could reach Australia
Thanks to Dumbledore's Army, from ABC News Australia
As the war in Afghanistan gets even hotter, the battle against roadside bombs is revealing an extraordinary network feeding the bomb makers.
So serious is the threat from Afghanistan that Australian troops are starting to give federal and state police the fingerprints and photos of Afghan bomb makers to thwart any attempted attack in this country.
And the insurgents are ordering in key bomb components from as far afield as South East Asia.
The roadside bomb, or Improvised Explosive Device (IED) as it is known in the military, is well-known now as the insurgents' weapon of choice.
In the first nine months of this year there were more than 950 IED attacks in Afghanistan - double the number for that period last year.
The counter IED task force does most of its work in places like Iraq and these days, Afghanistan.
But there is another highly sensitive and less well known aspect to its work - the task force has been developing a role in Australia's domestic security.
"One of the aspects of our work we've reinforced in the last few years is a closer relationship with our federal and state police," Brigadier Winter said.
"One example would be the collection of the types of IED technology, even some biometric is quickly passed back to Australia and shared in a practical sense with our whole of government agencies so that we get a bigger picture."
He says part of the need for passing on the information is to counter the potential threat of similar technology being deployed in Australia.
"I think there's a range of examples, particularly looking at the US where people who have fought in operations have also tried to arrive on the mainland of the US," he said.
"A biometric tip-off has been useful in identifying [them] and moving towards a policy... of identity management where you actually understand, particularly with an insurgency in theatre, who is manoeuvring where... and therefore have a better picture of who may be involved in the IED networks."
Increasingly, the financial intelligence networks used to track tax avoiders and money launderers are being harnessed to track funds used to purchase bomb parts being sent into Afghanistan.
"[We're] tracking that supply chain, which may at times overlap with a money chain or a leadership chain, and understanding how networks might operate outside the Middle East," he said.
"If we see an IED component that is new or off-the-shelf technology, we will track back to where that has originated from and often that has been offshore."
"In one case a car alarm system was ordered in from South East Asia."