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A rise in the number of troops wounded from buried bombs in Afghanistan has the Pentagon experimenting with new forms of protection, ranging from heavyweight chaps and Kevlar underwear to ground-penetrating radar systems.

The number of troops wounded by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) has gone from an average of 22 a month in 2008 to 281 a month in 2010, the year that a surge of 30,000 troops ordered by President Obama was completed.

Although soldiers and Marines wear armored vests, they generally have no such protection below the waist against explosives that detonate when stepped on. The counterinsurgency strategy overseen by Gen. David Petraeus emphasizes the increased use of foot patrols to root out insurgents and avoid civilian casualties.

Source: Tom Vanden Brook for USA Today.

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