ISLAMABAD, July 5: The United States has urged Pakistan to stop the smuggling of material used for making Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) to Afghanistan.
Sources told Dawn that the issue of IEDs dominated the counter-terrorism talks on Tuesday between US Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law William Brownfield and Interior Minister Rehman Malik here.
The US side was told that Pakistan was itself concerned over the menace of IEDs and was taking all possible steps to prevent fabrication of the deadly weapon. The meeting was told that export of fertiliser to Afghanistan had been banned on the basis of reports that it was being used to make IEDs.
Later, speaking at a press conference with Mr Brownfield after attending the first round of the fourth Pak-US ministerial-level strategic dialogue on law enforcement and counter-terrorism, Mr Malik said the world had now realised that the fabrication of the deadly weapon should be stopped.
He said that the use of IEDs had been detected in various attacks across the country.
In collaboration with the US, Pakistan would soon start a programme to impart training to the law-enforcement personnel to counter the threat posed by the IEDs, he said. “We are going to make a law against IEDs.”
He pointed out that around 11,024 people had died and 25,291 injured in incidents involving IEDs, while 1972 buildings, 79 bridges, 360 electric poles and 231 railway tracks were also destroyed in various areas of Pakistan.
The minister said that measures were being adopted with the support of the United States to check the use of IEDs.
He said the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan was a major concern as the Pakistani security forces were being attacked through the IEDs by the terrorists.
Mr Brownfield said the main agenda of the strategic dialogue taking place in Islamabad was to save lives of people around the world, especially in Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US.
He said both sides were set to discuss matters related to enhancing professional capabilities of the law-enforcement agencies in view of the new strategy announced by the Obama administration.
He said the meeting also discussed ways and means to curb the use of IED explosives and highlighted other bilateral issues.
Both the leaders said Pakistan and United States had common interests and the strategic dialogue was the right step to benefit each other in different areas. “We need to have common strategy so as to combat the menace of terrorism and extremism,” Mr Malik said.