RealNews

War on terror is also a war on drug traffic

Amid growing evidence that Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups are profiting from narcotics, the US military plans to more aggressively help track and target Afghanistan’s vast drug business, focusing on high-level traffickers linked to terrorists as well as production labs uncovered during military operations. The stepped-up military efforts come as US officials warn that Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and Hizb-i Islami militants are financing terrorist attacks with profits reaped from Afghanistan’s estimated $2 billion annual drug trade. As the world’s biggest opium supplier, Afghanistan saw production spread rampantly across the country last year, doubling to 2,865 metric tons.Tackling “narcoterrorism” in Afghanistan is urgent to prevent nascent links between drug-trafficking and terrorist groups from “tightening and hardening,” as they have in countries such as Colombia, says Robert Charles, Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement. In one operation Jan. 2, for example, an American A-10 jet destroyed an illegal drug lab with 1.5 tons of opium as well as chemicals and production equipment. The strike took place 90 kilometers north of Kunduz after British forces called for US close air support in a firefight. Full Story

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