The Huffington Post reports:
American soldiers and Marines walking combat patrols in Afghanistan have suffered a surge of gruesome injuries, losing one or both legs and often their genitals to crude homemade bombs Taliban insurgents bury in dirt roads and pathways.
In some cases, American military surgeons tell The Huffington Post, these traumatic amputations occur so close to soldiers’ hips that it is difficult to fit prosthetic legs, severely limiting the patients’ future mobility and rehabilitation. In addition, the loss of sexual function for formerly healthy young men in their early 20s causes severe anxiety and depression and can wreck new marriages.
The latest wave of severe injuries comes after Gen. David Petraeus ordered U.S. troops in Afghanistan last year to get out of their protective armored vehicles and start walking. “Patrol on foot whenever possible and engage the population,” he directed in guidance to his troops last August.
The order was hailed as an essential counterinsurgency tactic used to get closer to the people, pick up intelligence more effectively and demonstrate American resolve to protect local villagers from Taliban insurgents.
But the enemy — as Petraeus himself is fond of saying — gets a vote, and the insurgents have attacked the dismounted patrols with a vengeance, planting lethal bombs inches beneath the dusty soil where a footstep can detonate them in blinding flashes.