Pak asked to restrict ammonia nitrate production

Pak asked to restrict ammonia nitrate production

"Urgent action must be taken to stem the flow of AN (ammonia nitrate) into Afghanistan," the Senate Armed Services Committee said in its report on the National Defence Authorisation Act for the Fiscal 2012.

It noted that ammmonia nitrate is a prime component used in making IEDs, which have been responsible for killing a large number of US soldiers in Afghanistan.

In 2010, 268 US service members were killed by IEDs in Afghanistan, while a total of 101 have been killed since January this year.

This is not just a problem in Afghanistan, the committee said, noting that the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organisation (JIEDDO) has reported that, in 2010, there were more than 1,000 reported IED incidents in Pakistan -- only Iraq and Afghanistan experienced more IEDs.

The vast majority of these attacks have occurred in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas where Pakistani security forces continue operations against insurgent groups.
"The committee believes Pakistan must take several measures to restrict the flow of ammonium nitrate into Afghanistan," the report said. Specifically, the committee called on the Obama administration to engage with Pakistani officials and urge them to get a legislation passed through their legislature, which would regulate explosive precursor materials used in IEDs such as ammonium nitrate and other precursor materials.
Pakistani customs officials should seek to improve efforts to limit the passage of goods across the border which are illegal in Afghanistan, like ammonium nitrate; and the private owners of fertilizer plants and other producers active in Pakistan should introduce technologies that make it easier to track, the committee said.

Pakistani authorities need to conduct a public education campaign on the dangers posed by AN and the value of alternative fertilizers, such as urea, the report said.
The Senate Armed Services Committee said that ammonium nitrate continues to flow into Afghanistan. "The vast majority of this AN flows in from fertilizer factories in Pakistan," it said.

In 2010, in an effort to stem the flow of this material, the Afghan government banned the use of AN as a fertilizer.

Despite this effort and vigilance by Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), IED incidents and casualties have continued to increase, the report said.

"The Afghan government appears committed to this fight and has enacted appropriate legal measures and enforcement efforts.

"But ammonium nitrate is still ever-present in Afghanistan due to smuggling along supply routes from its neighbours, particularly from Pakistan," the report said, adding the amounts of AN reportedly ferried into Afghanistan from Pakistan are staggering

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