The U.S. Sent Its Most Advanced Fighter Jets to Blow Up Cheap Opium Labs. Now It’s Canceling the Program
The US has quietly ceased operation Iron Tempest, which was launched in late 2017 in order to deal a devastating blow to the Taliban’s drug empire in Afghanistan. As part of the program, US and Afghan war planes launched over 200 airstrikes on facilities and networks used by the Taliban for the production and distribution of opium, and US army special forces carried out raids on suspected drug labs. Despite the size of the operation, it did little to in the way of disrupting the drug trade.
Iron Tempest is one of many unsuccessful efforts by the US military to bring down the drug economy in Afghanistan. Despite spending $8.9 billion on counter-narcotics efforts since its invasion of the country in 2001, the US has seen the opium production in Afghanistan double over the course of that period.