Huge Cache of Bomb Material Seized in Afghanistan

Coalition troops find a half-million pounds of ammonium nitrate
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 10, 2009 6:25 PM CST
A U.S. army soldier pass by a burning fuel truck on a road outside Jalalabad, Nangarhar province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2009.   (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
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(Newser) – Coalition forces discovered an enormous cache of bomb-making material Sunday in Kandahar, seizing 500,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer illegal in the country and widely used in homemade bombs. A single bomb requires only 60 pounds of the substance, meaning the discovery will prevent thousands of bombs from being deployed. Fifteen people were arrested.

“You can turn a bag of ammonium nitrate into a bomb in a matter hours,” said Col. Mark Lee. “This is a great first step.” Farmers are banned from using the chemical in Afghanistan, and most of the fertilizer for explosives is imported from Pakistan, the New York Times reports. While improvised explosives are the top killer of foreign troops, 70% of those killed in bomb attacks are Afghan troops.