Security forces watching over the Afghanistan-Pakistan border have intercepted what they believe may be among the biggest truck bombs ever captured. The Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) was attempting to cross the border into Afghanistan just south of Peshawar with a cargo of ammonium nitrate, diesel fuel, and ill-will.
When the driver was questioned by border officials, he detonated a grenade in the cab. The man was then taken to the hospital where he detonated a suicide vest, and died. No other injuries or fatalities were reported. According to news reports from the area, the truck belonged to a local insurgent group which has played a role in most of the bombings in Kabul and in the eastern provinces of Afghanistan.
By weight, this truck bomb was 12 times larger than the rig used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and six times larger than the device used on the Marine Barracks in Beirut in 1983. Reports say the truck had stalled by the side of the road and while a specific target has not been named, many believe the VBEIB was bound for the U.S. Military's Forward Operating Base Goode near Gardez City.
In that part of the world, only bomb-makers and drug growers can afford ammonium nitrate. Black market demand and poverty have put fertilizer prices at the mercy of the highest bidder. It is not known how much Pakistani fertilizer actually fertilizes agricultural products, but estimates are extremely low. Only two companies produce fertilizer in Pakistan and despite an Afghan ban on fertilizer imports from Pakistan, AN continues to move across the border, leading more than a few to suspect border guards and public officials may be a part of the syndicate.
Had the truck not stalled by the side of the road, this news story would have read a lot differently. This episode is a reminder that soldiers for the cause of freedom are still under attack in Afghanistan, and ammonium nitrate is still used in sinister fashion where our enemies would stamp out liberty.
Photo credit: DVIDSHUB / Foter.com / CC BY