The commentary for this has already been written. See Blackwater Worldwide Changes Its Name to Xe; Same Mercenaries, but Now with More “Aviation Support” and The Invisible Hand of the Market: British Troops Seize £50 Million of Afghan Opium.
Afghan and U.S. forces have killed 34 militants, almost half of them in air strikes, and made one of the country’s largest drug hauls during an operation in southern Afghanistan, the U.S. military has said.
Almost 15 tonnes of narcotics including opium, heroin and morphine were seized over the course of the operation, which started on Tuesday, along with supplies of poppy seeds and drug refining products, the military said in a statement issued late on Thursday.
The operation, which included air strikes that killed 16 militants, was aimed at securing the Loy Cherah Bazaar in Marjeh city, a narcotics processing hub and militant stronghold in Helmand province.
Afghanistan produces more than 90 percent of the world’s opium, most of it in the Taliban’s southern heartland. U.S. military officials have estimated the opium trade provides between $80 million and $400 million a year to the Taliban.
“The only other narcotics discovery comparable in size to the Marjeh operation was a 260-ton stockpile of hashish with an approximate street value of $350 million … in Kandahar Province in July 2008,” the statement said.
The operation also uncovered weapons, a large amount of bomb-making materials, and two “war rooms” stocked with maps, communications equipment and night-vision goggles, it said.
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