Special Forces support Afghan National Security Forces in dismantling insurgent drug network

A specialist counter-narcotics unit within the Afghan National Security Force, supported by Australian Special Forces has dismantled a major insurgent drug network after targeting and destroying the largest narcotics cache that the combined force has found this year.

On 19 July, members of the Afghan National Interdiction Unit (NIU) supported by the Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) conducted a mission into Baghran district, Helmand, to help sever the link between the insurgency and the illicit narcotics trade.

Despite continuous contact with insurgents, the combined force seized six tonnes of precursor chemicals, six kilograms of pure heroin, 12 kilograms of morphine, over 400 kilograms of opium and hash, two opium presses and a large quantity of drug manufacturing materials.

It is estimated that nearly 250 kilograms of heroin was being processed when the combined force commenced operations.

The Commanding Officer of the SOTG (CO SOTG), said the mission would have a profound effect on the insurgency in Helmand and surrounding provinces, including Uruzgan.

“Finding and destroying a cache of this size will impact heavily on the insurgency as they strive to muster fighters and funds for the remainder of the fighting season,”

CO SOTG said.

“We have removed a key source of funding and supply into Uruzgan, curtailing plans and their ability to conduct attacks on ISAF and local forces.”

“Counter narcotics missions have extremely positive flow on effects. We are pushing insurgents out of heavily populated areas, instilling greater confidence in the local people and improving the security, development and governance in southern Afghanistan,” CO SOTG said.

The mission also yielded 27 Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) boosters, several weapons and a large quantity of ammunition.

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

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