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Several years ago an official with the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security disclosed to this author that al-Qaeda scientists had achieved a stunning breakthrough in non-nuclear explosives. At that time al-Qaeda experts were reportedly on the verge of developing a new class of “super explosives.” A more accurate description would be to refer to them as “sustained detonation” or “uncurved brisance” explosives. On October 29, 2011, those explosives may have made their debut when one of NATO’s supposedly “bomb-proof” Rhino armored buses was hit by a suicide car bomb which threw the massive Rhino into the air and flipped it over along a Kabul highway killing all 13 military and civilian occupants.

Chemical explosives, i.e., those which detonate rather than simply burn, obtain most of their destructive power due to a supersonic shock wave formed by the detonation impulse. The higher the velocity of the impulse the greater its shattering power. That is generally referred to as the “brisance” of the explosive. The name originated from the French verb “briser” meaning to break or shatter. The velocity can be depicted as a curve in which the impulse climbs, peaks and then falls. According to Diplomatic Security officials, the al-Qaeda’s explosives rise and peak but do not immediately fall. Instead the peak can be maintained for a very short period. As a result there is no curve as with conventional explosives. This would magnify their destructive power considerably.

Read the rest of Matthew Nasuti’s article at kabulpress.org.

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