Amendment Would Withhold Aid for Failure to Combat Biggest Killer of U.S. Troops in Afghanistan
Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet announced today that he joined Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) in introducing an amendment that would discourage the United States from sending security assistance to Pakistan until U.S. officials certify that the Pakistani government is making significant efforts toward regulating and reducing the flow of materials used in roadside bombs, the biggest killer of troops in Afghanistan.
“Coloradans serving in Afghanistan have done our state and our country proud, and we must do everything we can to protect them,” said Bennet. “This amendment is just one important tool we should use to ensure Pakistani officials are working to stop the flow of these harmful materials and protect our troops from the greatest threat against them.”
The amendment to the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization bill would require the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to certify that the Pakistani government has demonstrated a sustained commitment and is making significant efforts towards monitoring and regulating the sale, transport and use of calcium ammonium nitrate fertilizer, the main ingredient in roadside bombs.
Additionally, the amendment requires the Secretary of Defense to certify that Pakistan is taking measures to prevent its transport into Afghanistan, where it is used in roadside bombs to target U.S. troops. In 2010, 268 U.S. service members were killed by IEDs in Afghanistan, and 125 more have been killed by IEDs since the beginning of 2011.
This is the latest of Bennet’s efforts to increase pressure to stop the flow of calcium ammonium nitrate out of Pakistan and protect our troops. Bennet has joined Senator Casey to push the Department of Defense to increase coordination and end unnecessary duplication in efforts to counter roadside bombs, or IEDs.
In August, Bennet traveled to Pakistan to push officials to implement a plan to regulate bomb making materials and prevent their flow into Afghanistan.
In May, Bennet and a bipartisan group of Senators sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging the State Department to push Pakistan to stop the flow of ammonium nitrate, the main explosive ingredient used in IEDs, across the Pakistani border.