US hits Taliban by striking drug labs

2017-11-21 07:05
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Kabul - US Forces launched airstrikes on drug-making laboratories in Afghanistan as part a new joint strategy with the Afghan military to cut off funding for the Taliban, authorities said on Monday.

Numerous drug labs were decimated in a series of aerial bombardments in the poppy-rich southern province of Helmand -- a Taliban stronghold -US and Afghan officials said.

The joint operation came days after a UN report showed opium production in Afghanistan - a key source of funding for the Taliban's 16-year insurgency - soared 87% this year as the area under poppy cultivation hit a record high.

General John Nicholson, commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, said targeting the drug labs would "hit the Taliban where it hurts" and warned more airstrikes would follow.

"We hit the labs where they turned poppy into heroin. We hit their storage facilities where they kept their final products, where they stockpiled their money and their command and control."

The Taliban profits from the illegal drug trade by taxing poppy farmers and traffickers across the war-torn country, pocketing an estimated $200m a year, official data shows," he said.

Read more on:    taliban  |  nato  |  us  |  afghanistan
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