WASHINGTON, DC- U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs, applauded the measures announced by Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai last week which banned ammonium nitrate fertilizers, the key ingredient used in the most deadly Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) used in Afghanistan.
"The Afghan government is taking the right steps to combat IEDs which have targeted U.S. and coalition forces," said Senator Casey. "In January, IEDs killed 20 of the 32 coalition troops who died and almost all of the devices were made from ammonium nitrate. I am glad that the Afghan government is taking serious measures to confront this weapon and I will continue to monitor the Afghan government's enforcement of the ban."
Last month, Senator Casey wrote Secretary of State Clinton on diplomatic measures to combat ammonium nitrate. At a Senate Foreign Relations hearing on Afghanistan last week, Senator Casey questioned Ambassador Richard Holbrooke on the proliferation of ammonium nitrate in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
On Friday, President Karzai banned the use, production, storage or sale of ammonium nitrate. He also gave Afghans 30 days to turn over any ammonium nitrate related supplies to authorities. His decree also directed his government to provide training and equipment for Afghan police and custom officers to better detect and confiscate ammonium nitrate.