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Afghan Heroin Bust May Be Largest Ever in the World

Image: Afghan Heroin Bust May Be Largest Ever in the World

A joint U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, American Special Forces and Afghan counter-narcotics operation last October resulted in the seizure of 20 tons of drugs. (Drug Enforcement Administration)

By    |   Friday, 16 Dec 2016 12:55 PM

An Afghan heroin bust in October may be the largest ever of its kind in the world, with U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents and others capturing 20 tons of the drug.

The operation, which also included American Special Forces and an Afghanistan counter-narcotics unit, took down a reported "superlab" in the western Afghan province of Farah, but the mission was kept secret until Thursday, ABC News reported.

"This drug seizure alone prevented not only a massive amount of heroin hitting the streets throughout the world but also denied the Taliban money that would have been used to fund insurgent activities in and around the region," DEA spokesman Steven Bell told the news website.

The DEA provides "substantial cooperation and assistance to the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in support of its narcotics investigation," according to a statement on the U.S. Embassy-Kabul website.

"Working together, DEA, the Ministry of the Interior, and the Counter Narcotics Police — Afghanistan (CNP-A), target major narcotics trafficking organizations that support the insurgency, corrupt officials involved in narcotics trafficking, and illicit finance," the statement continued.

The huge drug haul occurred without the DEA or U.S. military having a significant presence in the country, ABC News noted. The downsizing of U.S. personnel has left the DEA with only a handful of agents in the country and no Foreign-Deployed Advisory Support Teams (FAST), which specifically targeted foreign drug traffickers.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reported in October that opium production in Afghanistan is starting to regain is dominance, increasing this year to its highest level recorded as work to rid the country of the drug has essentially collapsed, Reuters reported at the time.

Afghanistan is the world's the world's largest producer of opium and heroin, noted Reuters. ABC News states that much of it will end up in Europe and some in the United States.

"Unfortunately, preliminary results suggest that illicit cultivation has increased well above 200,000 hectares (494,000 acres)," UNODC executive director Yury Fedotov said in October, according to Reuters. "The production of opiates is expected to follow the same upward trend. Eradication has been close to zero."

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An Afghan heroin bust in October may be the largest ever of its kind in the world, with U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents and others capturing 20 tons of the drug.
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Friday, 16 Dec 2016 12:55 PM
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