News: Afghan counter-drug team kills insurgent, destroys narco factory in Helmand
Story by Staff Sgt. Osvaldo Equite
HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan – An Afghan tactical law enforcement unit raided a drug factory Aug. 28 in Helmand province’s Now Zad district, killing an insurgent and destroying more than $10,000 in narcotics drugs Aug. 28 in Now Zad district, Helmand province.
Counter narcotics agents from the National Interdiction Unit, in Kabul, led a helicopter assault into the Urmuz Bazaar, a major hub for narcotics in Now Zad, to disrupt the flow of lethal aid to insurgents, a U.S. Special Operations operative said.
NIU agents found several explosive devices defending an area that contained numerous narcotics processing equipment, an NIU agent reported.
The agents destroyed the bombs and equipment in place and executed the operation in quickly, the U.S. operative said. The NIU agents are well trained for this type of mission and exceedingly professional, he added.
The operation, which lasted a few hours, disrupted insurgent financing in the area by destroying 50 kilograms of unprocessed opium. Unprocessed opium runs about $200 on the market, according to a report released in May by the United Nations Drugs and Crime Office.
The operation provides time for Afghan security forces to stabilize the region as coalition forces transition from the Now Zad district. According to the UN report, the district is among the largest opium cultivation sites in Helmand.
Counter narcotics operations are a top priority for provincial and district officials, Omar Zawak, spokesman for the provincial governor, said. The government is defeating the insurgents by going after narcotics, which is among the Taliban’s more lucrative sources of income to finance their operation, Zawak added.
“That is the reason we put all these plans in place – to prevent narcotics trafficking,” he said.
NIU agents are an example of the continued growth and development of Afghan security forces.