Australian Special Forces and their Afghan partners have further reduced the ability of insurgents to finance their illegal activities after a large drug and weapon haul in Daykundi Province.
On 10 July 2011, the Afghan National Interdiction Unit (NIU), supported by members of Australia’s Special Operations Task Group (SOTG), seized a tonne of opium, several kilograms of heroin and over two tonnes of chemicals used to make illegal drugs. The operation also uncovered more than 20 weapons including pistols, rifles, machine guns and ammunition.
The Commanding Officer (CO) of the SOTG (who cannot be identified for operational security reasons) said illegal drugs were a key source of funding for insurgent activities.
“Insurgents use illegal drugs to finance their attempts to undermine the reconstruction of Afghanistan,” CO SOTG said.
“By supporting the NIU to find and destroy drug factories we can reduce the insurgents’ ability to harm civilians and ISAF and Afghan forces.”
The mission also uncovered equipment used for large scale drug refinement and evidence of a significant drug production industry in the surrounding area.
“The illegal drug trade is a major threat to security, economic development and democratic government, so the more it’s reduced the better it is for Afghanistan,” the CO SOTG said.
During the patrol there were no engagements with insurgents, and the local population showed strong support for the Afghan and Australian forces.
The SOTG commenced combined operations with the NIU in May this year. This combined effort has resulted in thousands of kilograms of drugs destroyed — or confiscated as evidence — and several individuals detained to face prosecution.
During Afghan NIU operations, the SOTG primarily provides cordon security, logistic assistance, medical assets and other specialist capabilities.
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