Afghan and Australian troops destroy insurgent syndicate’s 2012 drug plans

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. 

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Australia 

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