Senate Passes Resolution Calling for Increased Focus to Combat IEDs in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, DC—The Senate has passed a resolution calling for increased support to combat ammonium nitrate -- a primary explosive material used Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in Afghanistan.   The resolution was introduced by U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and cosponsored by Senators Carl Levin (D-MI), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jim Webb (D-VA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Ted Kaufman (D-DE).

“The high number of IED attacks in Afghanistan are a deadly reminder of threats posed to our troops and our effort to fight the Taliban,” said Senator Casey.  “As the preferred IED ingredient by the Taliban and extremists in Afghanistan, more must be done to halt the transport and manufacture of ammonium nitrate.”

“IEDs remain the number one cause of casualties against U.S. forces in Afghanistan," Sen. Levin said. "Congress has provided over $16 billion to defeat these devices, attack the networks that proliferate them, and train the force to counter them and we will continue to fund these efforts moving forward. However, it is also critical to the safety of our troops that we use the full force of our diplomacy to counter the source of components for these lethal devices. This resolution is one step in that effort.”

“Our brave men and women in uniform continue to make tremendous sacrifices in Afghanistan, where they must face down the deadly threat of IEDs on a daily basis,” Senator McCaskill said. “It’s important that we remain focused on the IED threat and this resolution presses our government to work with foreign governments to better monitor and regulate the kinds of materials that insurgents are using to build IEDs that will be used against our troops. There is no effort too great and no detail too small when it comes to trying to defeat the IED threat that is taking such a deadly toll on our heroic troops.”

“The most effective way to defeat the growing threat posed by IEDs is to disrupt the insurgent’s supply network,” said Senator Ted Kaufman.  “There must be a renewed effort on the part of the Pakistani government to regulate and restrict the distribution of ammonium nitrate, which will help to reduce the threat to civilians and U.S. troops.  Our brave men and women in uniform are doing an outstanding job detecting and defeating IEDs, but Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other Central Asian countries can and must do more.”

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.  

The resolution expresses the Sense of the Senate calling for continued support for 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.   

The resolution urges the State Department to work with foreign governments and other international organizations to stop the proliferation and transport of ammonium nitrate and other materials used in IEDs.