WASHINGTON, DC— The Senate Appropriations Committee passed language drafted by U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) to require a report of the steps taken to stem the proliferation and transport of ammonium nitrate in Afghanistan. Ammonium nitrate is a key component in IEDs used in Afghanistan targeting U.S. troops.
“July just became the deadliest month for U.S. troops in the entire war in Afghanistan,” said Senator Casey. “IEDs are the biggest killer of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. It is imperative that we stop the supply of ammonium nitrate used in IEDs. I am pleased that the Appropriations Committee passed this language to help assess and prioritize efforts to protect our troops.”
Last week, Senator Casey wrote to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee urging inclusion of this language.
Senator Casey’s language directs the Secretary of State, in consultation with the heads of other relevant Federal agencies, to submit a report not later than 90 days after enactment of this act detailing steps taken by the U.S. Government to help stem the proliferation and transport of ammonium nitrate into Afghanistan, including a description of diplomatic efforts to engage regional governments on this matter. The report may be submitted in classified form, if necessary.
In January 2010, the Afghan government banned the use of and manufacture of ammonium nitrate as a fertilizer. However, ammonium nitrate continues to flow into Afghanistan from Pakistan, Central Asian countries and Iran.
Last month, the Senate passed a resolution sponsored by Senator Casey that called for increased support to combat ammonium nitrate and an increased effort and focus by the Governments of Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Central Asian countries to effectively monitor and regulate the manufacture, sale, transport and use of ammonium nitrate fertilizer in order to prevent criminal groups and insurgent and terrorist organizations from transporting ammonium nitrate into Afghanistan where it is used in improvised explosive devices.
At a meeting in May, Senator Casey thanked Afghan President Hamid Karzai for his efforts to ban ammonium nitrate and discussed additional steps that must be taken to cut off the flow of ammonium nitrate from Pakistan. He has also met with Pakistani government officials who have expressed support for regulating this deadly bomb ingredient.