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Afghan and Australian forces seize record narcotics haul



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MEDIA RELEASE

Issued by Ministerial and Executive Coordination and Communication, Department of Defence, Canberra, ACT Phone: 02 6127 1999, Fax: 02 6265 1545

Media Releases are available via email if you register at www.defence.gov.au/media

MECC 386/2011 Friday, 30 September 2011

Afghan and Australian forces seize record narcotics haul

Afghan National Security Forces supported by Australia’s Special Operations Task Group seized and destroyed a record amount of drug products on 26 September.

United States Drug Enforcement Agency representatives say the ingredients would have been used to make heroin with a street value in excess of US$350 million if sold in the United States.

The haul included a large quantity of narcotics manufacturing equipment and chemicals.

This find follows another successful mission in Helmand Province earlier in the month when a narcotics laboratory housing enough ingredients to manufacture drugs worth around US$150 million was uncovered.

The Commanding Officer of the SOTG, Lieutenant Colonel G (who cannot be named for security reasons), said the significant find during a counter-narcotics operation in Helmand province on 26 September 2011 greatly exceeded the earlier drug destruction mission.

“This is one of the biggest narcotics busts by Afghan National Security Forces, comprising the National Interdiction Unit and the Air Interdiction Unit, and Australian Special Operations Task Group to date,” Lieutenant Colonel G said.

“In Afghan terms, the combined hauls will remove around US$21 million from directly funding the insurgency.”

More notable is the fact the drug labs were seized and destroyed without a shot being fired.

“The destruction of such a large quantity of drug products will have a considerable effect on the insurgent operations in northern Helmand and west Uruzgan throughout the remainder of 2011 and into 2012,” Lieutenant Colonel G said.

“Insurgent finance of fighters, weapons and IEDs will be significantly affected, making the provinces safer for the locals.”

“ANSF and coalition forces are committed to ensuring a more secure and stable future for the people of Afghanistan.”

MEDIA RELEASE

Issued by Ministerial and Executive Coordination and Communication, Department of Defence, Canberra, ACT Phone: 02 6127 1999, Fax: 02 6265 1545

Media Releases are available via email if you register at www.defence.gov.au/media

Imagery is available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/fotoweb/Grid.fwx?archiveId=5003=&search=11120830

Details of the drug find earlier in the month are available at: http://news.defence.gov.au/2011/09/20/afghan-and-australian-forces-destroy-biggest-narcotics-find-two-australian-soldiers-wounded/

Media contact: Defence Media Operations 02 6127 1999