AFGHANISTAN: Drug lords to go on "kill or capture" list.
The U.S./NATO war in Afghanistan is really two wars: the war against terrorism, and the war against drugs, officials say.
Afghanistan's major cash crop is the poppy that produces heroin. The Taliban and drug lords are in league to process the poppies for the drug market of Western Europe. The profits help fund the Taliban's effort to topple the government in Kabul.
Now, North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces, after a meeting of their defense ministers, have authority to strike drug labs and drug processing operations if asked by the Afghan government. Poppy eradication in the fields will be done by the Afghans, although NATO can provide intelligence and other backup.
Drug lords will be put on a "kill or capture list," Army Maj. Gen. Michael Tucker told the American Forces Press Service. The new policy will go into effect once details are ironed out divvying up responsibilities among NATO partners.
Although Afghanistan is the world's top supplier of heroin, it's also big in the hashish and marijuana markets. U.S. forces last week found 2 tons of pot in an abandoned school building.
Tony Perry, San Diego
Photo: Afghan family in poppy field. Credit: Canadian army