Washington: Pakistan needs to step up its
efforts against terrorism and put a hold on cross-border
weapons smuggling into Afghanistan, a top Pentagon official
told lawmakers on Wednesday.
Deputy Secretary of Defense, Ashton Cartor, told
lawmakers during his confirmation hearing that ammonium
nitrate used in explosives in Afghanistan is often traced back
to Pakistan and this was a matter that needs to be addressed.
So was the fact that the US-led NATO forces needed to
open alternate transport routes of supply for Afghanistan
given the volatility of using the Pakistani border routes for
"Certainly as regards terrorism and as regards weapons
crossing the border from Pakistan to Afghanistan, we need
their help. I mentioned that earlier with respect to ammonium
nitrate, but it`s across the board. They need to step up,"
Cartor said responding to a question from Senator Lindsay
Graham asked: "Would it be in our national security
interest to open up transportation routes in the north to get
supplies and equipment into Afghanistan without having to send everything through Pakistan?"
"It is, and we are," Carter responded.
Graham said it was his understanding that the
administration is negotiating with the Uzbekistan government
to dramatically expand that supply capability and that some
waivers would be needed from this committee to support the
Uzbekistan security forces.
Responding to another question, Carter said that the
ammonium nitrate that originates in Pakistan as calcium
ammonium nitrate fertiliser, then shows up as homemade
"Other chemicals, potassium chlorate, which is a
favourite of the enemy in the east as HME, is a favourite of
the enemy in the south -- we have to go -- we have to attack
this IED problem in every single possible way we can," he
"You can`t just wait for it to come and get you. You have
to go back into the supply chain. And part of that supply
chain traces back into Pakistan, and we need to get back and
get at that. I know that we`ve been working with Pakistan to
that effect but really just in a preliminary way, and a lot
more needs to be done," Carter said.
Carter said the Pentagon is procuring a large number of
ballistic underwear as a protective gear for its personnel in
"We are procuring large quantities of ballistic
underwear, several different variants of it, that offer
differing levels of protection, both male and female.
Obviously, this is a, you know, critically important effort.
So we`re sparing no effort in that regard," Carter said.
"We have a number of suppliers to make sure that we`re
not dependent upon any single supplier who might have a
production interruption or something like that and people
wouldn`t get to have the protection," he said.