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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Army plans to raise a new force to deal with the threat of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) — “cheapest assassins” — which have claimed over 11,000 lives in the last decade in the country.
IEDs have also been a major cause of deaths among foreign forces in neighbouring Afghanistan.
An inter-agency meeting at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi yesterday was told that a new force of three Counter IED units was being raised within the army, according to an official statement.
The meeting, chaired by Chief of General Staff Lt General Rashad Mahmood, was part of efforts by the government to deal with the threat of IEDs.
The ministries of Foreign Affairs, Industries, Information and Broadcasting, Interior, Fata Secretariat, Pak-Arab Fertilisers, Biafo Industries Limited, the Wah Nobel Group and Pakistan Agricultural Research Council attended.
According to the Inter-Services Public Relations, the panel reviewed challenges and threats posed by IEDs in the present environment and identified them as the “cheapest assassins”.
Officials and experts acknowledged that while the menace has been growing overall, the number of IEDs has been successfully reduced in conflict zones from 55 percent to 45 percent in the last couple of years.
The panel noted that a number of other countries affected by IEDs have made laws to control the menace but Pakistan has yet to make any progress in the field.
Related issues such as border control, tracking down terrorist networks and random checks in Federally Administered Tribal Areas were also discussed.
A regulatory mechanism was discussed in detail for the effective control of the movement of the explosive material and calcium ammonium nitrate fertiliser from regional and extra-regional countries.
Pakistan has often been accused by Western countries of doing little to stop the smuggling of calcium ammonium nitrate.
According to the US, about 80 percent of the IEDs used in Afghanistan contain homemade explosives, and more than 80 percent of them are derived from the fertiliser produced in Pakistan.
The statement added that Pakistan is one of the top victims of IED attacks by militants. During the last decade, some 33,150 incidents have taken place across Pakistan, claiming the lives of 11,250 Pakistanis and injuring over 21,000. Internews