Taliban fighters in Afghanistan are burying dirty needles with their bombs in a bid to infect British troops with HIV, reports The Sun, London.
Hypodermic syringes are hidden below the surface pointing upwards to prick bomb squad experts as they hunt for devices, the report says.
The heroin needles are feared to be contaminated with hepatitis and HIV. And if the bomb goes off, the needles become deadly flying shrapnel.
The tactic, used in the Afghan badlands of Helmand, was exposed by Tory MP and ex-Army officer Patrick Mercer.
Senior backbencher Mr Mercer said yesterday: "Are there no depths to which these people will stoop? This is the definition of a dirty war."
Razor blades are also being used. All Royal Engineer and Royal Logistic Corps bomb search teams have been issued with protective Kevlar gloves.
Staff Sergeant Kim Hughes, who cleared an entire minefield in 2009, will be awarded the George Cross by the Queen on Wednesday.