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I generally don’t comment on war news, but this is exceptional. Dexter Filkins in the NY Times:

With fertilizer bombs now the most lethal weapons used against American and NATO soldiers in southern Afghanistan, the bomb-making operation in Kandahar was something close to astonishing.

In a pair of raids on Sunday, Afghan police officers and American soldiers discovered a half-million pounds of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer that is used in the overwhelming majority of homemade bombs here. About 2,000 bomb-making devices like timers and triggers were also found, and 15 Afghans were detained.

With a typical homemade bomb weighing no more than 60 pounds, the seizure of that much fertilizer — more than 10 tractor-trailer loads — removed potentially thousands of bombs from the streets and trails of southern Afghanistan, officials said.

“You can turn a bag of ammonium nitrate into a bomb in a matter of hours,” said Col. Mark Lee, who leads NATO’s effort to stop the bomb makers in southern Afghanistan. “This is a great first step.”

The operation in the southern city of Kandahar, which was announced Tuesday, is by far the largest of its type. Ammonium nitrate is illegal in Afghanistan; farmers here are allowed to use other types of fertilizer, like those that are urea-based, on their crops. Most of the ammonium nitrate fertilizer in Afghanistan is believed to be imported from Pakistan.

Ammonium nitrate has long been used as both a fertilizer and an explosive. Timothy J. McVeigh and Terry L. Nichols used a 600-pound ammonium nitrate bomb, mixed with fuel oil, to attack the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995. The attack killed 168 people…

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

10 November 2009 at 5:42 pm

Posted in Afghanistan War

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