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ABP destroys HME cache, burns opium

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In yet another encouraging sign for the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Afghan Border Police found and blew up more than 15,000 pounds of the improvised-explosive-device-making substance ammonium nitrate in southern Kandahar, Dec. 28
ABP officials estimate that the amount of explosives had the potential to produce about 300 IEDs.

Approximately two hours after the detonation that literally shook mountains, the same ABP officers also destroyed more than 300 kilograms of opium in a village just northeast of Kandahar province’s Spin Boldak district.

Ammonium nitrate is widely used to make IEDs in Afghanistan and is believed to be the main ingredient in more than 90 percent of the IEDs used on attacks against NATO and Afghan forces.

“We saved a lot of lives today,” said ABP officer Shaistan Aktar. “We knew the things that were going on in the village, and when we left for the patrol, we told ourselves we weren’t going to leave here empty handed.”

The operation capped off a week in which the same unit found more than 100 bags of homemade explosives Dec. 22 during a routine patrol, and two days later, more than 11 tons of hashish.

Article by Sgt. Marc Loi, 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade