US troopsAccording to Pentagon officials, U.S. troop deaths and wounds from makeshift bombs in Afghanistan dropped by almost half in 2012 as Afghan forces take a larger share of fighting and Americans find and defuse more bombs than ever.

Improvised explosive devices — the top threat in Afghanistan — killed 104 U.S. troops in 2012 compared with 196 in 2011, a 46% decline. Bombs wounded fewer, too, from 3,542 in 2011 to 1,744 in 2012, a 50% drop, Courier Journal reported.

Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero, who commands the Pentagon’s Joint IED Defeat Organization said, A flood of surveillance equipment, metal detectors and intensive training have helped spur the decline in casualties.

He said, “Finally, our war fighters and commanders in the field are the best counter-IED capability we have. They get it and have a deep and thorough understanding of the enemy, the IED threat and how to attack it.”

Overall, makeshift bomb attacks in Afghanistan in 2012 dropped by about 8% from their record high in 2011, as Afghan forces take a larger share of fighting from U.S. troops, according to Pentagon data.

There were 15,222 incidents involving improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in 2012. An IED event is a bomb that explodes, one that is found and defused or the discovery of a cache of explosives.

Afghan troops, however, suffered a 124% increase in 2012 in the number of IED attacks against them, records show, a sign of their growing role on the battlefield. The complete 2012 statistics show the number of attacks against Afghans rose in the second half of 2012.