November 25, 2020

US and Afghan forces attack opium factories to hinder Taliban funds

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From WN

According to Afghan and American officials on Monday, U.S. and Afghan forces conducted joint operations on Taliban opium factories, in an attempt to halt the group’s economic lifeline, Reuters reported.

During a news conference, U.S. Army Gen. displayed footage of targeted aerial attacks against what he said were Taliban drug factories, the report said.

“Last night we conducted strikes in northern Helmand to hit the Taliban where it hurts, in their narcotics financing,” said Nicholson, flanked by Afghan Army Lt. Gen. Mohammad Sharif Yaftali.

The southern district of Helmand in is the single-largest manufacturer of opium, the report said.

Opium production in Afghanistan reached a record high in 2017 with an 87 percent increase from the previous year, the said last week.

This year, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said Afghanistan produced around 9,000 metric tons of opium from poppy seeds and is also the world’s main source of heroin.

Almost half of Afghan opium is processed into morphine or heroin, before being moved out of the country, according to U.S. and Afghan officials.

UNODC cautioned in the past Kabul’s diminishing control on security was a factor in the collapse in eradication efforts, the report said.

“We’re determined to tackle criminal economy and narcotics trafficking with full force,” said Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Twitter.

Nicholson said the operations were part of U.S. President Donald Trump’s new policy toward Afghanistan as he sends more troops to the country, the report said.

The U.S. general showed one video with an F-22 fighter jet dropping 250-pound bombs on two locations — highlighting a nearby third building was left undamaged, the report said.

U.S. soldiers were frequently accused of causing unnecessary collateral damage and civilian deaths, the report said. However, the U.S. claimed its takes every precaution necessary in order to avert civilian deaths.

According to the United Nations, at least 10 civilians were possibly killed in an airstrike in Kunduz earlier this month — going against a U.S. investigation which found no civilian casualties, Reuters reported.

WN.com, Jubilee Baez

For more on this story and video go to: https://article.wn.com/view/2017/11/20/US_And_Afghan_Forces_Attack_Opium_Factories_To_Hinder_Taliba/

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