WASHINGTON, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- The armored vehicles that U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates made a top priority are reducing roadside deaths in Afghanistan, statistics indicate.
Deaths of U.S. and allied troops from roadside attacks by insurgents have fallen from 76 in July 2009 to 57 in July of this year, USA Today reported Tuesday.
Before the Pentagon made Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles a priority, nearly 80 percent of roadside bomb attacks on Humvees killed the occupants.
That figure drops to 15 percent when MRAPS are attacked, a spokesman for the top command in Afghanistan said.
The military estimates that MRAPs have reduced deaths and injuries by more than 30 percent, amounting to dozens of lives saved each month.
"This is precisely why the secretary has been so adamant that we get as many MRAPs as possible to Afghanistan," said Geoff Morrell, Pentagon press secretary.
By the end of this month, the Pentagon will have spent more than $40 billion to build, ship and maintain MRAPs.