US urges Pakistan crack down on bomb fertilizer production
US officials have asked Pakistan to crack down on the production of a common fertiliser, saying it was used to make bombs that have claimed thousands of lives in Afghanistan.
Lieutenant General Michael Barbero pointed out that calcium ammonium nitrate is responsible for over 70 per cent of roadside bombs against coalition forces in Afghanistan despite a ban by Kabul on the fertilizer.
Barbero, who heads a Defence Department unit that combats the bombs, said the Fatima Group, the Pakistani company that runs the factories, has been "less than cooperative" in discussing this issue with the United States, the Dawn reports.
The report quoted Senator Bob Casey, who put up pictures of maimed US soldiers at the hearing, as saying that Pakistan's 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," he added.
According to the paper, Casey called for restrictions on the sale of ammonium nitrate and a tracking system that charts the course of chemicals to distributors to buyers.