The leading cause of deaths here in Afghanistan come from IED detonations. ISAF troops work diligently with Afghan civil and military personnel to locate, secure, and destroy materials that lead to the creation and emplacement of IEDs that indiscriminately kill military troops and innocent Afghan citizens alike.
During a recent joint operation between 2-38 Cavalry Squadron, 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade and the Afghan Border Police, two and half tons of ammonium nitrate were discovered.
Ammonium nitrate has numerous agricultural purposes. Though not used in solid form in most American farms these days, it is a staple of third world nations used to fertilize crops. Afghanistan is no different. However, agricultural fertilization is not the only purpose of ammonium nitrate.
Ammonium nitrate is sensitive to heat, pressure, and just about any ignition system. It’s an ideal and cheap method of creating an extreme combustible explosion. Timothy McVeigh used ammonium nitrate to destroy the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City in the 90s. Just a few weeks ago, Muslim extremists used the compound to kill 12 people and injure nearly 100 others in Delhi, India.
So, it’s a major coupe for US and Afghan forces to locate such a large cache of the stuff. Maj Anthony Crumbey writes:
Afghan Border Police discovered a truck at the Weesh Border Crossing containing more than 5,000 pounds of bags filled with ammonium nitrate Oct. 21.
“Ammonium nitrate has been banned in Afghanistan due to its use as to homemade explosives and improvised explosive devices,” said 1st Lt. Peter Conrardy, the executive officer of Bravo Troop.
“This find totals over 5,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate which could have been made into a significant number of IEDs used against the ABP and the International Security Assistance Force alike.”
“This find highlights our partnership with the Afghans,” he continued. “It also furthers our purpose of helping make Afghanistan a better and safer place for their people and the ABP here.”
All photos by MAJ Anthony Crumbey.