Pakistani security forces intercept large explosives cache


A policeman arranges sacks of explosive materials at a police station in northwest Pakistan’s Peshawar, June 8, 2013. Police seized about 15,000 kg explosives and ammunition from two vehicles in Peshawar during the raid. Pakistani forces have intercepted numerous convoys transporting similar lethal cargo during the month of June. (Photo:Xinhua/Umar Qayyum)

Pakistani security forces intercepted a large explosives cache yesterday morning, marking the third time this month that security forces have prevented the movement of explosives destined for Pakistani’s unstable tribal areas.

More details from Monday’s seizure were reported by Pakistan’s International News:

The police claimed to have seized a huge quantity of explosive materials and arrested two accused here on Monday. DSP Akhtar Ali said that acting on a tip-off, the police intercepted a truck (4084-K/Peshawar) during a blockade of the Nowshera-Mardan road near Dal Pattak and recovered a huge quantity of explosives from its secret cavities.

He said that 26,000 sacks of explosives filled with 3,000 dynamite sticks while 15,000-metre- long cable used in explosive devices were recovered from the truck. “Two accused identified as Irshad and Shah Jehan were arrested during the operation,” the DSP added. He claimed the same cache of explosive materials had already been smuggled to the tribal areas through the same route. The SHO Risalpur Police Station was also present on the occasion.

The DSP said that the bomb disposal squad stated that the seized explosive materials were of high quality and used to carry out blasting in mountains.The police officials claimed that materials were being smuggled to Afghanistan through the tribal areas of Pakistan.

One of the accused, Shah Jehan, the driver of the truck, said that Yaqoob, an owner of the private good transport company, hired him for Rs35,000 ($353) for bringing the materials to Peshawar from Attock. He confessed that he had smuggled the same quantity of explosive materials to the tribal areas.

Sub Inspector Haji Muhammad Khan revealed in a separate interview with the Express Tribune that the suspects arrested in Monday’s incident were instructed by their handlers to deliver the explosives to a man named Yaqoob in Peshawar, and Yaqoob had been ordered to further transport the explosives to Mohmand and Khyber tribal agencies.

Pakistan military forces have been battling Pakistani Taliban and Lashkar-e-Islam militants in the Tirah Valley, spanning between the tribal agencies of Khyber and Kurram, since May of this year.

Another explosives-laden convoy, this time heading from Peshawar to Karachi, was intercepted by police forces near the Sindh-Punjab provincial border area on June 16.

Additional details were provided by Geo TV:

The cops recovered tonnes of explosives hidden in the secret compartments of the Karachi-bound truck.

The police confiscated different types of weapons including 53 hand grenade, 15 RGS grenades, 2 rocket launchers, 20 each electric and non-electric detonators, 2 suicide jackets, and 4 sets of walky-talkies. The police have also taken three suspects in custody.

And on June 8, Pakistani police forces intercepted a convoy transporting 50 bags filled with explosives along the Peshawar ring road. Following the initial interrogation of the suspects who drove the vehicle, security forces raided a nearby warehouse and confiscated an estimated 15 tons of explosives, although no further arrests were made.

While Pakistani authorities stopped short of publicly attributing these incidents to any specific militant group, suspicion has fallen on the Pakistani Taliban, who vowed on May 30 to avenge the killing of one of their top commanders, Waliur Rehman, who died in a drone strike a day earlier. [See LWJ report, Pakistani Taliban confirm death of deputy emir in drone strike]

In a similar vein, Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan recently claimed responsibility for the June 23 attack that killed nine foreign tourists and a local Pakistani guide in the northern Gilgit area, stating that the attack was carried out in revenge for the killing of Waliur Rehman.

Pakistani militants will likely continue to acquire and transport large amounts of explosives, as indicated by the three interdictions this month, to further pressure the Pakistani government and security forces and to avenge the killing of Waliur Rehman, who was reportedly one of the most respected Pakistani Taliban commanders among militants and Pakistani politicians alike.

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  • blert says:

    IIRC, there are very few sources for such materials in and around the FATA.
    The white bags are typical for ammonium nitrate — used as fertilizer — as well as a base for ANFO rock blasting charges.
    ANFO is as common as dust in the fabrication of IEDs. It’s used to amplify the blast. The sequence is: blasting cap/ electric detonator => dynamite => ANFO. (Blasting caps are now uncommon.)
    The Pakistani authorities need to clamp down entirely on the distribution of ammonium nitrate. The ISAF have been pushing on this issue for y e a r s.
    I would argue that — because of these chronic diversions — that ammonium nitrate should be not made available to the entire area. What ‘fixed’ nitrogen required for agriculture can be provided by ammonia — an easily compressed gas — directly. This is already done on a massive scale in the Sacramento Valley of California. The big difference is that the fertilizer is injected by a towed rig (behind a farm tractor) and injected under the plowed ground early in the season.
    The gear is c h e a p — and can be rented from the ammonia supplier at the same time that the fertilizer is purchased — a package deal.
    When delivered in this manner, the net cost is even lower than ammonium nitrate. That’s why modern farmers in the US use liquid ammonia so much.
    (It stores well, too. All over the farm states ammonia supplies are built up during the off season. It can be shipped as gas or liquid. It liquefies, like propane, under mild pressure. It can also be blended into water in any proportion, with higher levels requiring pressure.)
    This v e r y cost effective solution would remove 90% of the boom from the bomb makers.
    It would also go most of the distance towards frustrating poppy cultivation — since by embargoing the ammonia during certain weeks it would be impossible to fertilize the poppies at the right time. Ammonia has to be injected first, as the process rips up the ground — like a plow.
    (ANFO = Ammonium Nitrate Fuel Oil — as in (farm) Diesel fuel)

  • mike merlo says:

    it shouldn’t be to difficult for the Pakistani’s to track down the source of the “explosives” if it is Ammonium Nitrate. The Pakistani Military owns & controls the 2 or 3 facilities in Pakistan that manufactures the ‘stuff.’

  • Max says:

    They should deliver this bomb material to the Taliban – from the air, in the form of a bomb. Just repackage it appropriately, and roll it out the back of a cargo plane with a parachute on top of their training camps. Simple.

  • Stephen says:

    Mike Merlo has a serious point here, it goes further than just finding out where the Ammonium Nitrate is being sold..
    It doesn’t matter at what level..
    The Pak government should control their millitary, having them own fertiliser plants like this is just too bizzare..
    I think everything there is about the level of graft, and it doesn’t matter about the outcome..
    All US support of Pakastan should stop..
    Imagine the USMarines manufacturing explosives and using the USAirforce to ship the stuff to the enemy..

  • blert says:

    You’ve got the power relationship backwards: the Pakistani Army OWNS the Pakistani nation.
    That’s why everyone can remember their generals — and only occasionally remember their presidents.
    Egypt and China are structured the same way: both militaries own V A S T segments of their respective national economies.
    They don’t really look to the national government to fill their budgets.


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