A Pakistani fertilizer maker whose chemicals have been used in 80 percent of the roadside bombs that have killed and maimed American troops in Afghanistan is now seeking U.S. taxpayer subsidies in order to open a factory in Indiana.
The request appears to be on hold pending further review, but the situation has stirred outrage in Congress, where some accuse the Pakistani government of halting efforts to clamp down on the bomb-making.
For the past seven years, the U.S. government has known that the raw material calcium ammonium nitrate, or CAN, is making its way across the border into Afghanistan where the Taliban use it to fuel their most deadly weapons, namely the improvised explosive device. IEDs have long been the number one killer of U.S. and coalition troops.
The material largely comes from Pakistani fertilizer maker the Fatima Group. But the Pakistani government has stymied attempts by the Pentagon to stop the flow of the fertilizer used in these homemade bombs, according to the director of military Joint IED Defeat Organization, Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero.
“The producers within Pakistan have been less than cooperative,” Barbero told a congressional committee late last year. “Despite making minor packaging, tracking and marketing changes, they have not implemented any effective product security or stewardship efforts. Pakistani-based CAN producers can and must do more. Frustratingly, all direct communication and engagement with the leaders of Fatima Group was halted by the government of Pakistan.”
The Pentagon enlisted help from the State Department to intervene and pressure the Lahore-based Fatima Group to change their formula. In an interview with Fox News, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., said those efforts by the State Department “completely failed,” and he blames the Pakistani government in large part.
“The Fatima organization was willing to work with our U.S. military to curtail the cross-border transaction of calcium ammonium nitrate until (the) Pakistani government told them ‘no, you aren’t going to curtail it, stop talking with Americans, we are going to keep shipping across the border the way that we have been’,” he said.
What’s worse, Hunter said, is that now this same fertilizer group wants to open a factory in Indiana, taking advantage of U.S. taxpayer subsidies meant to help Indiana recover after recent flooding.
“Not only was this company Fatima able to still ship calcium ammonium nitrate to make bombs across the border into Afghanistan, but they were almost getting ready to take advantage of taxpayer-subsidized loans to set up shop in Indiana to make more fertilizer while they were sending bomb making material across the border from Pakistan to Afghanistan,” Hunter said.
Indiana’s state officials have suspended Fatima’s request pending a further investigation and now, for the first time in 12 years, the fertilizer maker appears willing to take simple steps to make its fertilizer non-explosive.
In a statement, Barbero called the developments “positive” and said “Fatima confirmed to me in writing that it has suspended sales of CAN fertilizer products in the border provinces of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, affecting 228 dealers in those areas.” …
Co-Founder @ DontComply.com
Murdoch Pizgatti is a voluntaryist that participates in activism of all shades. President and founder of Come And Take It Texas he has been focusing on gun rights the last two years. As the Co-founder of DontComply.com he deals with the corruption of the state and heads up programs to rally against the unjust and unconstitutional laws in the USofA.
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