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Afghan Ban On Farm Chemical With Bomb-Making Potential

Another blow to already beleaguered Afghan farmers?
KABUL -- The Afghan government has imposed a ban on the agricultural use of ammonium nitrate -- a chemical that is also suitable for making powerful bombs, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan reports.

The Ministry of Agriculture is advising Afghan farmers to strictly avoid employing that specific chemical in farming and to contact local agriculture officials if they have any of it stored.

Officials say serious action will be taken against violators.

Afghan Deputy Home Minister Mohammad Munir Mangal told reporters that Taliban militants use this kind of chemical as much as they can in producing explosives, because of its easy availability.

Officials estimate that more than 80 percent of suicide attacks and roadside car bombings involve ammonium nitrate.

The move could anger some people in the country's already beleaguered rural areas, where the lucrative opium trade encourages many frustrated farmers to turn to opium poppies despite government and international efforts to curb the crop.