Perth: Australian Defence Ministry asked the government to approve a $100 million fleet of mine-detecting vehicles, which army experts say will all but neutralize threat of roadside bombs in Afghanistan. News of request came as Australia Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd Friday urged his Pakistan counterpart to stop illicit movement of locally made explosives material into Afghanistan, where it is used to make roadside bombs.
At a meeting on sidelines of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Rudd told Pakistan Foreign Minister Ms Hina Rabbani Khar to take “all practical efforts” to restrict the movement of bomb-making materials across the border.
It is first time the issue of Pakistan-sourced explosives material has been raised at a senior ministerial level between the two countries.
Weekend Australian newspaper understands the request by Australian Defence Ministry for fast-tracked approval for mine-detecting vehicles will go to national security committee of cabinet in December.
Of 29 Australian soldiers killed in action in Afghanistan since 2001, IEDs — improvised explosive devices — have claimed lives of 14 and responsible for wounding a further 105. The explosives issue was raised during bilateral talks on counter-terrorism co-operation between Australia and Pakistan at CHOGM, a spokeswoman for Rudd said.