December 5, 2011

Senate Clears Whitehouse-Backed Measure to Protect Troops from Roadside Bombs

Bipartisan Amendment Urges Action on IEDs

Washington, DC – The Senate has approved legislation cosponsored by U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) encouraging Pakistan to demonstrate a continued commitment toward countering improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which are responsible for approximately 90 percent of U.S. troop casualties in Afghanistan.

The bipartisan measure, adopted as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (S.1867), would block U.S. counterinsurgency funding to Pakistan until the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State certify that the Government of Pakistan is upholding its commitment to implementing its strategy to counter IEDs.

“Roadside bombs are the leading cause of injury to our troops in Afghanistan,” said Whitehouse. “We need to put a stop to the trafficking of bomb-making materials across the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. I will continue to urge continued cooperation on this important issue.”

The U.S. has been working with the Government of Pakistan and Pakistani companies to prevent explosive materials from being used to make roadside bombs and to cooperate on other ways to counter the threat posed by these deadly weapons. IEDs are widely used by terrorist networks to kill our troops in Afghanistan and Pakistani citizens and law enforcement personnel.

Whitehouse visited Pakistan and Afghanistan in August to urge officials in the region to take further steps to disrupt the terrorist networks based in Pakistan that are responsible for the flow of IEDs into Afghanistan. According to the Director of the Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), the rate of IED activity in Afghanistan remains consistently high with approximately 1,500 IED events occurring per month.

The amendment, introduced by Sen. Robert P. Casey, Jr., (D-PA), was also cosponsored by Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY), Michael F. Bennet (D-CO), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).


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