Huge Drug Find in Afghanistan

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by King_of_the_Burpas, Jun 12, 2008.

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  1. This from the BBC:

    Afghans seize 'largest drug haul'

    The seizure comes [/b]ahead of a major international donor conference
    Afghan police working with British special forces have uncovered a drugs stash of 237 tonnes of hashish.

    Afghan and British officials say they believe it to be the world's biggest seizure of drugs in terms of weight.

    The drugs were found hidden in trenches in Kandahar province on Monday. The haul was so large that British jets bombed it to destroy the hashish.

    Nato's top general in Afghanistan said the find would seriously cripple the Taleban's ability to buy weapons.

    'Welcome boost'

    Afghan and British officials said the hashish had a value of more than $400m (£203m).

    The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) said the hashish weighed as much as 30 double-decker London buses.

    [The find] was so large that two aircraft were brought in to destroy the underground bunker in which the hashish was being stored

    UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband

    "With this single find, they have seriously crippled the Taleban's ability to purchase weapons that threaten the safety and security of the Afghan people and the region," said Isaf's commander, US General David McKiernan.

    Afghan police received a tip about the drugs cache on Monday morning and found it later that day, Isaf said. Three men were arrested during the operation.

    The find "reflects the efforts of the Afghan government against the drug trade, and was so large that two aircraft were brought in to destroy the underground bunker in which the hashish was being stored", British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said in a statement.

    The BBC's Martin Patience in Kabul says the announcement should provide a welcome boost to the Afghan government on the eve of a major international donor conference in Paris in support of the country.

    In the past, Afghanistan has been criticised by the international community for not doing enough to tackle drugs - especially the opium trade.

    Afghanistan is estimated to account for 90% of the world's opium.

    The previous record drugs haul is believed to be 81 tonnes of cocaine seized in Colombia.

    Timed to perfection just ahread of the Paris donor conference, where Karzai's government, begging bowl in hand, will need to show it is serious about tackling the drug problem.

    It's a big find, but there are still 6000 tons of opium in the Stan harvested in 2007 out there somewhere.

    Perhaps without the intervention of British SF, the reluctance of the Afghan police to annoy government officials and tribal leaders by finding more of this stuff would have been overwhelming.
  2. Biped

    Biped LE Book Reviewer

    Someone is going to be awfully upset at the loss of their stash! I do wonder how much things are likely to kick off against coalition troops in that vicinity now.

    How sad, never mind.

    Just a thought: Funny how there's been no 'massive' opium seizures . . . or maybe not.
  3. There'll be three at once shurely.

    Couldn't they have found 200-odd bus loads of marijuana while it was still growing in the fields? Perhaps they could but destroying it there would have played havoc with the crucial timing of this 'find'.

    Oh, and were there any arrests? The BBC doesn't say.
  4. Biped

    Biped LE Book Reviewer

    And therein lies the rub. At the moment, the majority of the population is fairly well in order, despite the anti-afghan buggers. As soon as we start hitting opium production, we'll be in a situation where 100,000 troops won't be enough.

    The hashish hit may look good in the papers, but we won't risk targeting the opium - the results will look VERY bad in the papers.
  5. Rizla papers? Sorry Biped, I'll get me coat.

    It's common knowledge that a sizeable number of the loya jirga warlords propping up Karzai are happily enriching themselves in the drugs trade.

    The aviation minister was murdered a few years ago in a battle to take control of Ariana (aka Scariana or Inshallah Airways) - the official airline used to get all sorts of things out of the country.

    The joke was that an Ariana plane and passengers inbound from Sharjah to Kabul was worth at least $100,000.

    Outbound to Sharjah its value would increase to $30,000,000.
  6. msr

    msr LE

  7. Bet there was a hell of a punchup in certain units to see who was going to secure the downwind flank of that!
  8. 'Timed to perfection just ahead of the Paris donor conference'.

    Just a few concerns:

    Did anyone get any photos?
    Was the press release made after the 'haul' was destroyed?
    Who are the men arrested?
    Why the need for its sudden destruction?
    Surely such a huge amount could never have been spirited away by the baddies?

    We 'found' it - then destroyed the evidence. Did any independent party get a chance to confirm its existence at all?

    Does anyone have any link to something a bit more concrete? Does anyone else regard the story as a bit suspect?
  9. Photos in today's Scotsman.
  10. Thanks Hackle... although I can't find it.

    I did find...

    Shellshocked tortoise owner in clear
    Watch our Musselburgh Ladies Day slideshow
    Watch our Leith Festival video

    ......but nothing about 30 busloads of hash in the Stan. Is the Scotsman a Murdoch paper, by the way?

    OH, as I type, I've just found a photo of a barren landscape with 2 x large explosions and 2 x huge plumes of smoke. Incontroverible proof. Cheers.

    Thanks Hackle. I'll now go back to sleep.
  11. Hard to find, but The Scotsman has a lot more info than the BBC....

    "The Afghan commandos, who share a base with British special forces, discovered the drugs on 9 June, as part of an operation codenamed Albatross II.

    Officials believe it was a massive cannabis factory where drug dealers were turning dried cannabis leaves into resin.

    The troops arrested three people at the site and seized binoculars, a satellite phone and a Kalashnikov assault rifle.

    The trenches, which appeared to have been made by mechanical diggers, were spread in pairs, close to a major border crossing called Spin Boldak, which links Kandahar, in Afghanistan, with Quetta, the Taleban's capital-in-exile, in Pakistan.

    Officials suspect the drugs were owned by criminal gangs, rather than insurgents, but Nato said the Taleban could have skimmed up to £7 million in taxes from the haul.

    The cannabis was stored in sacks and neatly stacked along the walls of the trenches. Each bag was labelled with the date and place of manufacture.

    Lt Gen Khalid said two of the men arrested at the scene were Afghans and one was from Pakistan.

    The raid was one in a series of strikes against narcotics labs across southern Afghanistan last week. In a separate operation on June 4 – codenamed Operation Badgers – the commandos arrested 13 smugglers, and seized more than 2.5 tons of opium, worth £15 million.

    The elite Afghan 333 sabre team, backed by SBS commandos, killed three insurgents in the raid and seized three sniper rifles, 15 Kalashnikovs, three shotguns, a rocket propelled grenade and a light anti-aircraft gun, military sources revealed.

    A day later they hit a second heroin lab, killing one insurgent, arresting three and confiscating £600,000 worth of wet opium. One insurgent was killed and 23 Kalashnikovs were recovered."

    The timing is still perfect.
  12. Good job it was not the Kingos who found it!!!!
  13. Do you think he will get away with the excuse that it was for his "own personal use officer?"
  14. I see what you mean! However, today's Scotsman print edition does carry 5 photographs on pages 20-21 including a shot of a large quantity of stacked sacks inside a covered trench, and a trench entrance camouflaged with brush and twigs.

    Shame that anyone should have difficulty trusting this kind of official dossier. I wonder how that state of affairs came about?
  15. Or the Scots