Afghans uncover 260 tons of hashish in record bust
By JASON STRAZIUSO – June 11, 2008
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan counternarcotics officials said Wednesday that they uncovered 260 tons of hashish hidden in 6-foot-deep trenches in southern Afghanistan in what one DEA official said appears to be the world's biggest drug bust.
The hashish, found in the southern province of Kandahar on Monday, was worth more than $400 million and would have netted the Taliban about $14 million in profits, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said.
The hashish weighed as much as 30 double-decker London buses, ISAF said. The drugs were burned on site. Hashish is a concentrated form of marijuana.
"The Afghan National Police Special Task Force has made a huge step forward in proving its capability in curbing the tide of illegal drug trade in this country," U.S. Gen. David McKiernan, the commander of ISAF, said in a statement.
"With this single find, they have seriously crippled the Taliban's ability to purchase weapons that threaten the safety and security of the Afghan people and the region."
The spokesman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, Garrison Courtney, said the drug bust appears is the world's largest in terms of weight. He called the takedown "pretty huge."
"I can't think of any other time I've ever heard of that large of an amount in one hit," he said.
Afghanistan's biggest drug problem is not hashish but opium. The country produced 9,000 tons last year, enough to make over 880 tons of heroin — 93 percent of the world's supply.
But officials have increased warnings that farmers who no longer grow opium poppies because of successful eradication programs have turned their fields to cannabis, the plant used to produce hashish and marijuana, giving the country a second drug problem to contend with.
Deputy Interior Minister Lt. Gen. Abdul Hadi Khalid, who announced the bust Wednesday, said three men were arrested in the raid. He credited the international community for helping to train the Afghan special narcotics forces.
He said that 21 of the country's 36 provinces are now opium-free, but that efforts to eradicate in Kandahar, Helmand, Farah and Uruzgan provinces did not go well this year because of continuing violence there.
Forty-three members of the country's counternarcotics police were killed during eradication operations this spring, he said.
In a separate recent counternarcotics operation in nearby Helmand province, the Interior Ministry said police seized 11,250 pounds of opium and arrested 13 drug dealers.
Pictured: RAF blow up world's biggest drugs haul worth £225 MILLION in Afghanistan desert
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 1:48 PM on 12th June 2008
RAF Harrier jump jets have blown up the world's biggest drug haul in Afghanistan by dropping three 1,000lb bombs on a 237-ton stash of cannabis.
The haul - worth £225million and weighing more than 30 double-decker buses - was unearthed by the Special Boat Service and local commandos.
The drugs were first stuffed into grain sacks and buried in six trenches covering an area the size of two football pitches.
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Attack: Smoke pours from a bombed trench full of drugs and, below, an RAF Harrier jet
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Harriers then flew over the site near Kandahar and dropped their deadly payload.
Officials believe the area - near to the Taliban stronghold of Quetta in Pakistan - was turning dried cannabis leaves into heroin.
After the attack from Kandahar airfield, troops set fire to the remains with petrol.
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Mind-boggling: Inside one of six trenches concealing a record 236 tons of hash and 2.5 tons of opium
Up in flames: The third of three illegal drug caches after being hit by 1000lb bombs from RAF Harrier jump jets then set ablaze by troops
Five tons of opium, worth £2million, was also found and destroyed.
Three people were arrested.
The previous record haul was 80 tons of cocaine in Columbia in 1998.
Afghanistan's deputy Interior Minister, Lieutenant General Abdul Hadi Khalid, said yesterday: 'This is a new world record in the global war on drugs.'