Afghan Border Police seize more than 50 tons of ammonium nitrate


KABUL, Afghanistan (July 13) Afghan Border Police seized more than 100,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate yesterday in the Dand-Patan district of Paktiya province after stopping a 12-truck convoy that was carrying fertilizer.

The convoy was stopped at an Afghan Border Police (ABP) checkpoint where the fertilizer was tested by ISAF forces. Ten of the trucks carried legal fertilizer, but two contained ammonium nitrate. A third truck, also containing ammonium nitrate, was stopped a short time later. More than 900 bags of illegal fertilizer were found in the three trucks. The vehicle drivers were detained for questioning.

"The vigilant work of the border police, with support from our ISAF partners, has taken dangerous bombs out of the hands of criminals who are increasingly harming Afghan citizens," said Gen. Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, the Minister of Interior of Afghanistan.

Ammonium nitrate is the basic ingredient in 80 percent of the improvised explosive devices (IED) used by insurgents in Afghanistan according to a recent report by the Afghan Ministry of Defense.

ISAF experts say that the seized ammonium nitrate could have been used to make over 2,100 IEDs.

In December of 2009, the government of Afghanistan banned the use, import and production of ammonium nitrate fertilizers.

Afghan authorities, with the assistance of ISAF, recently established a Counter Improvised Explosive Device (CIED) school to train Afghan soldiers and policemen on the detection and removal of IEDs as part of capacity-building efforts to help Afghans take control of their own security.