Kabul, Afghanistan - Troops with the NATO-led force in Afghanistan have seized more than 6,000 pounds of illegal drugs, the force said. Troops found more than 5,300 pounds of processed opium, more than 1,000 pounds of wet opium paste, approximately 50 pounds of heroin, and multiple firearms with ammunition were found in the truck, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said.
Authorities arrested two people and destroyed most of the drugs, though they kept some narcotics to analyze. The confiscation took place Wednesday in southern Afghanistan - in the Maiwand district of Kandahar province - after troops stopped a "suspicious" truck.
Made from poppies, shown in the photo above, Afghan opium kills 100,000 people a year worldwide - more than any other drug - and the opiate heroin kills five times as many people in NATO countries each year than the total number of NATO troops killed in combat in Afghanistan, a recent U.N. report said.
About 15 million people around the world use heroin, opium or morphine, fueling a $65 billion market for the drug and also fueling terrorism and insurgencies.
The Taliban raised $450 million to $600 million over the past four years by "taxing" opium farmers and traffickers, Antonio Maria Costa, head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, said in a report last autumn.
Not all the money is going into the pockets of rebels or drug dealers, though. Some Afghan officials are making money off the trade as well, he said.