90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fertilizer Bombs Continue To Challenge U.S. Military

A Pakistani man carries sacks of fertilizer to smuggle into neighboring Afghanistan at Pakistani border town of Chaman. The U.S. government believes that most of the bombs killing its troops in Afghanistan are made with a chemical fertilizer produced by a single company in Pakistan and American officials have launched an intense and so far unsuccessful push for regulation. (AP)

A Pakistani man carries sacks of fertilizer to smuggle into neighboring Afghanistan at Pakistani border town of Chaman. (AP)

Hundreds of U.S. troops in Afghanistan have been killed by improvised explosive devices. The Pentagon spends billions trying stop IEDs, which cost only about $40 to make and are little more than plastic jugs filled with explosive ammonium nitrate fertilizer.

“What you’re looking at is fertilizer with an accelerant which could be sugar or sawdust. The blasting cap is often fashioned out of a ballpoint pen or Christmas lights,” military reporter Greg Jaffe told Here & Now‘s Sacha Pfeiffer.

The fertilizer is manufactured in Pakistan, and so far U.S. military officials aren’t having much success at stopping its flow across the border into Afghanistan. An owner of one of the fertilizer plants in Pakistan says farmers need the fertilizer and the amount that falls into insurgents’ hands is less than 1 percent of his production.

Guest:

  • Greg Jaffe, Washington Post military reporter

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

November 26 2 Comments

UC President Janet Napolitano Says Tuition Must Rise

Napolitano defends the planned tuition increases, which some students and lawmakers say are too steep.

November 26 18 Comments

National Bar Association Critical Of Ferguson Grand Jury Process

St. Louis attorney Pamela Meanes, who is president of the association, explains her concerns with how the D.A. handled the process.

November 25 9 Comments

Lightening Up Traditional Thanksgiving Fare

Our resident chef Kathy Gunst has created lighter versions of listeners' favorites, from mashed potatoes to green bean casserole.

November 25 Comment

U.N. Envoy Calls For ‘Firing Freeze’ In Aleppo, Syria

Staffan de Mistura says limited and localized ceasefires in this historic city could serve as a model for the rest of the country.