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Landmines have increasingly been replaced in modern warfare with improvised explosive devices, usually known as IEDs.

The mechanism of injury is the same for landmines and IEDs, while the seriousness of injuries for either device depends on how close the victim is to the center of the explosion, says a  research published in BMJ Open.

Researchers suspected that pattern 1 injuries — those where the victim suffers the full effects of the explosion at close quarters — would be more serious when they involved IEDs.

They, therefore. assessed pattern 1 injuries sustained by 100 people during IED attacks in Afghanistan over 18 months in 2010-11 and compared them with pattern 1 injuries previously described for landmines.

According to, IED victims were more likely than those similarly injured by landmines to have more serious injuries.

IEDs are sometimes portrayed as a primitive or crude weapon crafted from locally available resources because of a lack of access to conventional weapons, but they have evolved and are now more sophisticated, directed, and destructive, say the researchers. Just like landmines, they indiscriminately maim and kill. And that includes children, who tend to suffer the most severe injuries as a result of the powerful explosive force of an IED.

“The injury pattern suffered by the survivors of the IED is markedly worse than that of conventional [landmines],” they write. “It is a weapon, which, of its nature, causes superfluous injury and unnecessary suffering.”

The evidence gathered on the horrors inflicted by the use of landmines prompted international condemnation resulting in a ban. And the researchers conclude: “It is hoped that reports regarding the pattern of injury caused by the modern IED will result in an abhorrence of this weapon and those that use it.”