US presses Pakistan on bomb fertiliser

By AFP
Published: December 14, 2012

Calcium ammonium nitrate responsible for more than 70% roadside bombs against coalition forces in Afghanistan says US. PHOTO: FILE

WASHINGTON: US officials called Thursday on Pakistan to crack down on the production of a common fertiliser, saying it was used to make bombs that have claimed the bulk of troop deaths in Afghanistan.

As the long-tense US-Pakistan relationship improves slightly, US officials credited Islamabad with taking the issue more seriously but said that much more needed to be done by authorities and producers of the fertiliser.

Calcium ammonium nitrate is responsible for more than 70 percent of roadside bombs against coalition forces in Afghanistan despite a ban by Kabul on the fertiliser, Lieutenant General Michael Barbero told a Senate hearing.

Barbero, who heads a Defense Department unit that combats the bombs, said the Fatima Group, the Pakistani company that runs the factories, has been “less than cooperative” in discussions with the United States.

Senator Bob Casey, who put up pictures of maimed US soldiers at the hearing, said that Interior Minister Rehman Malik presented plans to prevent the bombs – known as improvised explosive devices, or IEDs – during an October visit to the United States.

“While I’m pleased that Pakistan has developed a very detailed and comprehensive set of plans to counter IEDs, let me be clear – it’s time to finally and fully implement these plans,” Casey said.

“IED incidents have risen in Afghanistan. The flow of chemicals coming from across the border has not diminished,” said Casey, a member of President Barack Obama’s Democratic Party from Pennsylvania.

Casey said that Pakistan had an interest in halting the fertiliser’s misuse. Citing the US embassy, Casey said IEDs had killed 2,395 people inside Pakistan in the past year.

Casey called for restrictions on the sale of ammonium nitrate and a tracking system that charts the course of chemicals to distributors to buyers.

“Members of the fertiliser industry in Pakistan have the opportunity to be good corporate citizens. They should also understand that they are part of a broader global corporate community where reputations matter, just like they do here in Washington,” he said.

Barbero said the United States had requested that factories dye the calcium ammonium nitrate, which is milky white and can easily be disguised as detergent, so that border guards can detect it.

Ammonium nitrate is also produced in other nations, but virtually all found in Afghanistan has come from Pakistan, he said.

The fertiliser was also the chief component in the 1995 bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City. In 2007, the US Congress passed a law that required registration of buyers.

Barbero said that US forces have also noticed the growing use by insurgents in Afghanistan of potassium chlorate, which he said was illegally imported into Pakistan to produce matches or for use in the textile industry.

State Department official Jonathan Carpenter said the United States has provided some $113 million to Pakistan since 2009 for efforts to counter the bombs and anticipated another $135 million from the most recent funding year.

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Reader Comments (24)

  • S K Afridi
    Dec 14, 2012 - 11:53AM

    US once again is getting back to their same old tactics of “Do more”. Pakistan should better give a strong rebuttal right at this stage before the US disease of “Do more” becomes an epidemic.

    Recommend

  • Omar
    Dec 14, 2012 - 12:51PM

    Don’t import or allow CAN to be produced. Urea is a perfectly viable substitute and hence we should save large producers like Engro, DH and the others that are suffering from Gov’t enforced gas restrictions. I don’t believe bombs can be made using urea.

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  • Linchpin
    Dec 14, 2012 - 1:28PM

    As the American gun lobby would say “it’s not the fertiliser that kills but the person behind the fertiliser”

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  • Helix
    Dec 14, 2012 - 1:39PM

    The fertilizer manufacturing industry is the only sector that is booming in Pakistan and the Americans can’t take it. shakes head

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  • poleturtle
    Dec 14, 2012 - 2:58PM

    The histories greatest warmongers are preaching peace tactics!! Nobody will kill the foreigners if they all go back to their own countries.

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  • Umer
    Dec 14, 2012 - 3:06PM

    State Department official Jonathan Carpenter said the United States has provided some $113 million to Pakistan since 2009 for efforts to counter the bombs and anticipated another $135 million from the most recent funding year.

    If Pakistan stopped those IEDs it would loose funding in future. What is the incentive for Pakistan to stop IEDs?

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  • Genius
    Dec 14, 2012 - 3:17PM

    Why any of the peace loving, peaceful people of the Americas, Africa and Asia would need to pick up a gun or a bomb if the European terrorists did not compel the peace loving, peaceful people of the Americas, Africa and Asia to respond appropriately to their campaigns of terror?

    Recommend

  • Hasan Abdullah
    Dec 14, 2012 - 4:42PM

    “Members of the fertiliser industry in Pakistan have the opportunity to be good corporate citizens. They should also understand that they are part of a broader global corporate community where reputations matter, just like they do here in Washington,” [Senator Bob Casey]

    Would the senator offer the same advice to US companies such as Lockheed Martin, General Atomics, Boeing, etc?

    Recommend

  • anwar
    Dec 14, 2012 - 5:16PM

    Its simple we have to produce to eat BUT Americans can go home without much to loose..
    The choice is simpleRecommend

  • Dec 14, 2012 - 5:26PM

    You are moving in side the vast battle field with the huge presence.So fold it because 2014 a head.. It is not beyond my belive,small weapon manufacturing factories will continue.These are the bomb of choice against the forces.

    Now eyes are opened,.Calcium ammonium nitrate is responsible for manufacturing road side bomb is being tried to control but it is a uphill task.It is very hard to overcome because bomb making technology has approached every corner of tribal belt and other areas support freedom fighters.

    Draw attention on the repatriation,work for peace and support peace process.Look at Pakistan sincer efforts are under way,and sincer efforts does not go waste.

    Recommend

  • 101&280&680 Person
    Dec 14, 2012 - 6:45PM

    To all the author,
    I am sick of the wars.
    But, technology (chemicals) has made it easier to kill each other.

    It is technology and recently found knowledge about the the universe, that few of us have (had) hope(d) for a future for humanity, including my child. I would like that to continue.

    Pls someone, stop these idiots from blowing things up, just because they know how to mix chemicals. It happens all over the world, but it is taking a new dimension.

    If you want to enlist me, Pls ask ET for my coordinates, I am sure they know it.
    Of course, I am hesitant to reveal my real identity.

    I am sure that, it sounds sentimental, but I am up for it.
    ..Peace

    Recommend

  • Cautious
    Dec 14, 2012 - 6:56PM

    NATO, Afghanistan and the USA have been complaining about this for many years – the USA offered to fund tracking and even offered to provide technology/funding to chemically alter the fertilizer to make it unsuitable for explosives – the sad thing is that thousands of Pakistani’s are killed using your own fertilizer and you still won’t lift a finger. Shame on you.Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    Dec 14, 2012 - 7:34PM

    It appears that no one in Pakistan is capable of rational thinking. A strong case is being built against Pakistan by everyone, to declare Pakistan a terrorist state. Complaints are filed against Pakistan in UN against human right violations and many crimes. No one is reading the writing on the wall and Pakistan will keep asking for nuclear technology.

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  • Zeeshan
    Dec 14, 2012 - 7:52PM

    “Senator Bob Casey, who put up pictures of maimed US soldiers at the hearing, said that Interior Minister Rehman Malik presented plans to prevent the bombs – known as improvised explosive devices, or IEDs – during an October visit to the United States.”

    what happened to the pictures of maimed Afghans and Pakistanis?

    It seems like the empire could not even stand against a fertilizer.

    Recommend

  • Atif
    Dec 14, 2012 - 8:38PM

    @Raj – USA

    “Complaints are filed against Pakistan in UN against human right violations and many crimes.”

    Need details…

    would you please provide me a link to UN site where I can get the number of complaints file against Pakistan AND I can compare it with number of complaints against other countries of the world.

    Would be thankful..

    Recommend

  • Insaan
    Dec 14, 2012 - 8:49PM

    State Department official Jonathan Carpenter said the United States has provided some $113 million to Pakistan since 2009 for efforts to counter the bombs and anticipated another $135 million from the most recent funding year.

    Pakistan is making money “to counter bomb making”. As long as bombs are being made and exploded Pakistan will get more and more money,Recommend

  • Rashid
    Dec 14, 2012 - 8:58PM

    When USA is leaving Afghanistan?

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  • Atif
    Dec 14, 2012 - 9:11PM

    But what so called ‘civilized and westernized rational people’ doesn’t know that not a ‘single’ Afghan was involved in 9/11 and whole war was waged on these already torn and poor people. How many Afghans have died so far? we will never know for sure. who cares? But dying US soldiers are certainly a problem.

    Recommend

  • Ali
    Dec 14, 2012 - 9:29PM

    we indians feel sorry for you……USA is asking you to stop making fertilizers which is the backbone of your modern agriculture. your ex-president musharaff sold 100 square KM of fertile land to the saudi govt on cash basis..This happen when 70% OF THE BUDGET IS USED BY THE MILITARY AND CAUSE THE ECONOMY TO GO WEAK.

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  • cautious
    Dec 15, 2012 - 12:53AM

    @Atif

    But what so called ‘civilized and
    westernized rational people’ doesn’t
    know that not a ‘single’ Afghan was
    involved in 9/11

    Short memory? OBL orchestrated 911 from Afghanistan under the protection of the Taliban – the USA demanded that he be turned over and they said NO. The USA didn’t bring troops to Afghanistan for their oil, minerals or any of the other nonsense the conspiracy theory advocates spout – they came to Afghanistan to get OBL, hammer Al Qaeda, and depose the administration that supported both of them. A lesson Pakistan should pay attention to.

    Recommend

  • Shahid
    Dec 15, 2012 - 1:13AM

    @Ali

    We Pakistani feel sorry for you Indians as well. Reading Pakistani Newspapers and commenting under Muslime/English/Pakistani names.. Bravo..

    Recommend

  • Mango Aadmi
    Dec 15, 2012 - 2:35AM

    From comments above I see a chronic habit of Pakistanis to throw back accusations to the accuser. Even if it means that listening to the adversary may sometimes help in fixing your mess without inviting more embarrassment such as OBL hunt operation by Americans in Pakistan. It is not worth being defensive on each and every comments / request by foreign nations suggesting Pakistan to rein in the terrorists sprawling in their country. Pakistan military did lot and went way beyond it’s means to create them, they will of course have to do lot more to eliminate them. Nobody asked Pakistan to play with fire by supporting terrorism as state instrument to support Kashmir and Taliban cause. What were they expecting in return ? You made the mess, you have to clean them. it’s a world order.

    Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    Dec 15, 2012 - 8:27AM

    @Atif:
    It is very easy to Compare. All anyone should to do is follow / study the culture and custom of “C’s” in Pakistan.

    Conversion of minor hindu girls after weeks of rape, Constitutional discrimination of Ahmedis, Hindus and Christians, Curriculum of hate that is compulsory in schools. Most of the Civilian population have been and still are practicing these cruel customs on all non-muslims (Ahmedis and Shias counted as non-muslims), continually for over half century. Chief Justice provides convenient cover. Nothing heard from any Commission or Chandio. Ahmedi Graveyards and mosques are destroyed, Hindu Temples are demolished and Churches are also not sparred.

    Every one can see the connivance and culpability of most of the civil society in Pakistan. There has never been even one follow-up report on even one girl who was so converted. For instance, where is Rinkle now and how is she? There have been more Rinkles since then. Everyone is proud of live conversions on TV. Hindus, Ahmedis and Shias are fleeing the country in large numbers and seeking asylum in other countries. Are they going to keep quiet? They are pushing International organization. Has anyone heard of such practices anywhere else in the world, including any Islamic country?

    Recommend

  • paki
    Dec 15, 2012 - 11:45PM

    Pakistan should stop production of Calcium ammonium nitrate provided USA stops the production of

    Acetone peroxide
    Alkali metal ozonides
    Ammonium permanganate
    Ammonium chlorate
    Azidotetrazolates
    Azo-clathrates
    Benzoyl peroxide
    Benzvalene
    Chlorine azide
    Chlorine oxides
    Copper(I) acetylide
    Copper(II) azide
    Cumene hydroperoxide
    Cyanogen azide
    Diacetyl peroxide
    Diazodinitrophenol
    Diazomethane
    Diethyl ether peroxide
    4-Dimethylaminophenylpentazole
    Disulfur dinitride
    Ethyl azide
    Explosive antimony
    Fluorine azide
    Fluorine perchlorate
    Fulminic acid
    Hexamethylene triperoxide diamine
    Hydrazoic acid
    Hypofluorous acid
    Lead azide
    Lead styphnate
    Lead picrate[4]
    Manganese heptoxide
    Mercury(II) fulminate
    Mercury nitride
    Recommend

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