Afghan National Security Forces supported by Australia’s Special Operations Task Group seized and destroyed approximately 4,000 kg of poppy seed believed cached in preparation for next year’s growing season during a deliberate operation earlier this week (31 October).
The poppy seeds and 30 kg of processed opium were uncovered during a partnered operation in the Kajaki region of Helmand province.
Chief of Joint Operations, Lieutenant General Ash Power, said destroying the poppy seed would significantly impact the insurgent-aligned syndicate’s ability to plant and harvest a crop in the 2012 growing season.
“This high-grade seed is crucial to sustaining production and is highly valued and protected,” Lieutenant General Power said.
Afghan and Australian forces came under fire as they entered the targeted area and elements remained in contact for the duration of the mission.
“The ferocity of the insurgent response to the mission is a clear indicator of just how important this cache was to their plans.”
No members of the Special Operations Task Group or the Afghan National Interdiction Unit were killed or wounded during the mission.
Several insurgents are known to have been killed during multiple engagements.
This mission follows successful operations in recent months against drug production facilities in Northern Helmand province.
Australian Special Forces are supporting the National Interdiction Unit in a concerted effort to disrupt insurgent command, control and finance networks in southern Afghanistan.
National Interdiction Unit operations focus on targeting the Afghan narcotics trade and the threat it poses to the long term security, development and governance of Afghanistan.
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