WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2011 — Combined Afghan and coalition security forces made a major drug sweep and killed numerous insurgent fighters in separate operations yesterday in Afghanistan, military officials reported.
In Helmand province’s Baghran district, Afghan and International Security Assistance Force members conducted what is believed to be the largest-ever narcotics seizure by combined forces in Afghanistan.
The combined team, acting on intelligence, targeted an area believed to be manufacturing drugs used to finance lethal aid to be used against Afghan and coalition forces. The security force discovered three narcotics laboratories containing drugs with an estimated street value of more than $350 million.
The force destroyed the narcotics labs, along with about 1,800 gallons of morphine solution, 220 pounds of heroin, 176 pounds of opium, and 26,500 pounds of chemicals used to process narcotics, as well as drug processing equipment.
Marine Corps Maj. Gen. James B. Laster, head of joint operations at ISAF Joint Command, said the seizure would disrupt insurgents’ ability to attack. “We are committed to ensuring a more secure and stable future for the people of Afghanistan,” he said.
Also yesterday, a combined security force killed numerous insurgents during an operation in search of a senior Taliban leader in the eastern border province of Nangarhar. The man is wanted for orchestrating multiple direct fire and bomb attacks against Afghan forces.
During the operation, the force observed multiple insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenade launchers and assault rifles maneuvering to attack. The force engaged the threat, killing the insurgents. Numerous additional suspects were detained.
In other ISAF news yesterday:
— Combined forces discovered two drug caches in the Zharay district of Kandahar province. The caches contained 308 pounds of cannabis, 88 pounds of poppy seeds and 506 pounds of hashish. The security force seized the drugs for safe disposal at a later date.
— Also in Zharay, a combined force found and destroyed an improvised explosive device, 132 pounds of homemade explosives, two rifles and two 82 mm rounds.
— A combined patrol detained an insurgent leader in Helmand’s Qalah district. The man is known to organize IED and suicide bomb attacks and to supply weapons to insurgents.
— In Helmand’s Now Zad district, a combined force detained multiple suspected insurgents while searching for an insurgent who reports to Pakistan-based Taliban leadership. Forces seized multiple weapons and drugs in the operation, including a 40 mm grenade launcher and grenades and 50 pounds of black tar heroin.
— In the Ghaziabad district of Kunar province, a combined force seized 14 assault rifles, 50 fuses, five radios and 42 shotguns.
— In the Pul-e Alam district of Logar province, a combined force detained multiple insurgents while searching for a Taliban fighter responsible for vehicle-borne IED attacks in the region.
Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases