security-agencies-worried-about-influx-of-precursor-chemicals-explosives-from-afghanistan

It is not just the drug networks and terrorists operating from Afghanistan, but smuggling of weapons and explosive materials, that can be repurposed into IEDs and directed towards Jammu and Kashmir and other cities, that is a matter of fresh worry for Indian security agencies.

The 2019 Pulwama terror attack, attributed to Jaish-e-Mohammed, had apparent links inside Afghanistan where the terrorist outfit had used its base to prepare and plan for the deadly strike using military grade explosives.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), in its chargesheet, said the main accused, Umar Farooq, was trained at the Sangin camp of Helmand province in Afghanistan.

There are already reports of increase of magnetically attached IEDs (MAIEDs), known as STICKY bombs, being used in Afghanistan in the last one year. MAIEDs were traditionally used by the Taliban to conduct targeted strikes and assassinations by attaching them on to a vehicle and detonating them using a mercury switch once the vehicle is in motion.

With the Taliban’s return and border porosity emboldening the trafficking and smuggling networks, border guarding forces like the BSF and other intelligence agencies are alert to the newer threats. There is worry that chemical precursors like ammonium nitrate and potassium chlorate could be smuggled into the country for making IEDs.

“After Taliban’s seizure of massive weapons caches from departing US and coalition forces, as well as from Afghan military and police forces, there are concerns of component parts of some of these weapons being re-purposed to make IEDs and main charges for explosives,” said a sleuth of the NIA .

Prior to Taliban control of Afghanistan, the smuggling of chemical precursors for use in explosives was significant, said a security official.

The official explained that the majority of precursor types used by Taliban are ammonium nitrate, potassium chlorate, acetone and hydrogen peroxide. Though the sale of chemical precursors was regulated in Afghanistan for past 20 years with stringent legislation and chemical countermeasures, majority of precursors were being smuggled and trafficked into Afghanistan via either Pakistan, Tajikistan or the Chinese borders.

A border security official said with Taliban in control in Afghanistan, it is likely that border porosity will increase especially at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in Torkham, the busiest border crossing with Pakistan.

”It is also likely that trafficking and smuggling of precursor chemicals and military grade explosives will increase,” said the latest intelligence report.

According to the intelligence inputs, in the last six months, there was also a noted increase in the Taliban’s use of commercially available UAVs which were weaponized to deploy explosives.

These could be used by the Taliban against those whom it seeks to eliminate in covert operations despite proclamation of amnesty for all. If used by terror groups and Haqqani network, it could serve a bigger threat on the Indian borders.

An Interpol report this year had raised alarm over 3,000kg of chemical precursors from Pakistan being seized from a truck in Khost. The truck was carrying ammonium nitrate and potassium chlorate purchased in Pakistan and intended to be used as explosive material in IEDs in Afghanistan.

 

 

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