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Two insurgents, including a senior explosives operator, were killed during an operation conducted by a combined Afghanistan and international security force near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border early Jan. 25, military officials reported today.
The combined force went to an area in Afghanistan's Helmand province where the insurgents had collected a large amount of fertilizer containing ammonium nitrate, a key ingredient used to create homemade bombs. The material was placed on a truck and driven north toward central Helmand.
Afghan forces set up a roadblock about 30 miles from the border and stopped the vehicle. As forces approached the vehicle, the insurgents displayed hostile intent and were killed.
A search of the truck yielded 20 tons of fertilizer containing ammonium nitrate. The material was destroyed where it was found.
As the truck was being engaged, a separate combined force moved against the location where insurgents had collected the fertilizer. An additional 30 tons of the fertilizer was found and destroyed.
Fertilizers containing ammonium nitrate have been banned by Afghan President Hamid Karzai because of their use in homemade explosives.
The 50 tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer destroyed in the operation could have produced enough explosive material for 2,500 bombs, officials said.