Ammonium nitrate fertilizer was banned by Hamid Karzai earlier this year at the request of Nato troops because of its use in homemade explosives.
The 17 tonnes of banned fertiliser, which is the main ingredient in Taliban bombs, was being smuggled in 10lb boxes in a lorry from Quetta in Pakistan according to officers.
Gen Mohammad Shafiq Fazli said the lorry had been tracked before being seized south of the city. Four people were arrested including two Pakistan nationals he said.
Hidden homemade bombs targeting patrols and convoys account for nearly two thirds of Nato casualties and also indiscriminately kill hundreds of Afghans.
The bombs hidden in tracks and walls which maim and kill British soldiers in Helmand often contain less than 50lbs of explosive, meaning the haul could have made hundreds of devices.
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