January 8th, 2010
09:58 AM ET

Large stash of opium, heroin seized

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.

Filed under: Life and Culture
soundoff (138 Responses)
  1. afghanistan.blogs.cnn.com

    Big stash of illegal drugs seized in southern afghanistan.. Great idea 🙂

    April 18, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jones

    An interesting issue, i think if NATO can intesify in clearing the opium fields and man-hunting for the processing places then the allied has got few months of stay in the region because the desert fox (Taliban) will have niether food to feed on nor weapons to fight with.

    But i feel someone big is behind these cultivations because, in the desert, you have very few vital places, easy to trace, where people can grow the opium. This can easily be spoted and get destroyed so that these guyes have no financial muscle for their activites.


    March 7, 2010 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
  3. Alan

    Its an easy solution. Let pharmaceutical companies selling morphine buy all the opium from the Afghans and process it into medical-grade, legitimate morphine for medical use. Then, fund a worldwide charity program to get morphine to poor countries where it is hard to affoard. This is a problem in many countries, including Afghanistan itself.

    An interesting note is that there are countries that use heroin in medical practice. England uses it under the name diamorphine (since the chemical name of heroin is diacetylmorphine). Instead of destroying the heroin it should be sent to hospitals in countries where medical use is legal to be used only in hospitals for medical purposes.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Starchild

    Goodmorning Americans, Anderson Cooper has an articlle 1/13 on afgan farmers growing marijuna instead of poppy, please read an comment here I think that it will shed a little light on this most interesting conversation. One other thing, corn,tobaccaco an most other crops will not grow in that area. What does the farmer grow.?

    January 14, 2010 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  5. ssg stickly

    funny you should mention that opium and the growing of poppies is legal in afghanistan! Last time i dealt with mass amounts of opium,(i was there for this incident, and found this article while screwing around on google) the growing of poppies and the production of opium has been strictly forbidden by the afghan govt. and is enforced by the local police and army. As for the addiction aspect of it, you dont hear about people performing oral sex for a cigarette!!!

    January 12, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  6. A. Smith, Oregon

    American troops lives spent in guarding Narco-Trafficking, is this what the CIA has sunk America to?

    What does that say about the so called Billions spent on America's War on Drugs?

    Big Pharma gave 8 billion dollars to the US Senate in an agreement for the US Senate to not force Big Pharma to adopt the same laws that Canada enforced. Canada and other countrys force Big Pharma to sell their DRUGS to Canadian's at the same price they are sold elsewhere and not 1 cent higher.

    Those that pay a slice of the pie, its legal, those that do not its illegal?

    Seems to me there is a WAR upon unrepresented American citizens that do not have billions of lobbying dollars to ensure lawmakers act on the critical domestic needs plaguing all Americans at this time here at home.

    January 11, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Diamond

    Drugs are drugs no matter if they are illegal or legal...people die from using drugs all the time. That doesn't mean it should be a big deal if the drugs are imported or exported. Lastly they need to have a better security check in buildings than worry about how many drugs make it to the U.S.A!!!!!!!!

    January 11, 2010 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
    • dickiefickle

      You are an idiot

      September 15, 2011 at 4:20 am | Report abuse |
  8. Ethan

    the security council sanctioned for the NATO troops to be allowed to freeze assets that could be used to fund the taliban. and the taliban were issued to destroy their opium crops, NATO is just helping them out.

    January 10, 2010 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Victor

    associated with "counter productive" drug policy, the ISAF soldiers on the ground find it difficult to gain the support of the local population.Drug laboratories, and drug traders became the targets, and not the poppy fields themselves.
    Though problematic for NATO, this indirect role has allowed NATO to avoid the opposition of the local population who depend on the poppy fields for their livelihood.
    In order to appease France, Italy and Germany, the deal involved the participation in an anti-drugs campaign only of willing NATO member countries, was to be temporary, and was to involve cooperation of the Afghans.
    Army and intelligence help reduce military casualties and depending from province allocates huge money to protect infrastructure depending form place where occupation personal stay.

    January 10, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. heinzel

    As a previous user of both heroin and cigarettes I would have to say quitting cigarettes was by far more difficult – and I had to do that twice. For every person it's differnt, but statistics show that more people are easily addicted to cigarettes. The reason people kill over heroin and not nicotine is because heroin is more difficult to get. Also, I'm skeptical that heroin could have an impact on funding terrorism. I believe oil and weapon trafficking have more of an economic impact. However, probably religion and war have impacted terrorism even more. Let's face it – explosives and airline tickets are not exactly that expensive for large scale operations. I believe I wouldn't be crossing the line calling this article propoganda.

    January 10, 2010 at 2:28 am | Report abuse |
  11. ashfaq alam

    Before UN FORCE in afghanistan. No body grow Opium. may be that army growing opiium for money.same in iraq us army killing inosant people.To hell with the CIA and all army Destroy all the Opium Fields in Afghanistan.

    January 9, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Has the world gone mad

    Personally I don't know anybody who is scared to fly or fieghtened that some ghost terrorist cell will attack them. I live in a multi cultural society and I never hear anyone even talking about this terror nonesense. In fact the only time I hear about the war on terror is on the news which is controlled by government or at airports through government security staff.
    Basically nobody is worried about terrorists, but the government tells us we are.

    Why would we be scared about terrorists. WWI killed millions and life went on. WWII killed millions and life went on. But recently the twin towers collapsed under highly unusual circumstances (which have never been fully explained and the investigation had little funding) and suddenly the world is supposed to be terrorised with fear. What a load of BS

    January 9, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. A. Smith, Oregon

    When did enabling narco-trafficking in Afghanistan and propping up corrupt leaders in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and now in Yemen become a core American value worth American lives and American tax dollars?

    Flooding rural America with cheap Heroin is making America Safer?

    Forcing a corrupt puppet leader onto people that rejects them makes the world Safer?

    January 9, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jenmo

    6000 pounds of poppy seized and how many suicide bombers let in the front door of the CIA without searching them??? Maybe they should get their priorities straight.

    January 8, 2010 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Meso

    Who wants to go over there and be the solution, rather than talk about it in this blog?

    Everyone has great ideas, but are you going to do anything about it? Make a difference, get your butt off the computer and fly into the heart of the area.

    January 8, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  16. A. Smith, Oregon

    Is this a turn around by the Democratic lead White House? Opium production went up over 300% during the Bush-Cheney Administration. Allied military commanders in Afghanistan complained that their troops were told 'hands off the Opium Fields' by America's CIA officers.

    Afghanistan President Karzi's brother is allegedly the largest Opium exporter in Afghanistan and there is ample evidence that both himself and Karzi have been on the CIA payroll for years, even prior to the Afghanistan Govt. position both of those men were placed.

    This seizure of Opium is a slap in the face of the CIA and one that I highly applaud. Flooding the world with cheap Heroin is a evil that is destroying grade school children across rural parts of America in the form of 'cheese heroin'.

    Recently FBI agents arrested some Xe CIA contractors accused of 2nd. degree murder of some Afghanistan civilians. It remains to be seen if Bush-Cheney rewrote the US Constitution giving immunity to CIA contractors regardless of their crimes on behalf of the CIA or not.

    Kudos for this Opium seizure. If President Obama asks other leaders in South America to destroy their Cocaine or Opium plants, it doesn't seem as hypocritical as it did under Bush-Cheney.

    Given that Opium directly leads to the largest influx of cash to the Taliban and that Opium directly destroys entire community's, kills hundreds of thousands around the world and creates millions of heroin addicts placing an enormous drain on entire society's, the US Airforce should Napalm every Opium field in Afghanistan that it can find.

    To hell with the CIA, Destroy all the Opium Fields in Afghanistan. That would immediately cutoff the flow if cash for the Taliban used for weapons and explosives.

    January 8, 2010 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  17. BJThoi

    "Illegal drug use feuls terrorism and organized crime."

    Make recreational drugs illegal, only criminals use them. Only big time, organized criminal networks can supply them.

    Make them legal, anyone can use them. Any company (or better yet, a nationalized venture) could distribute them, adding needed legal jobs and cashflow, along with tax dollars, to the economy.

    Note also, that if we legalized things like heroin and marijuana, we could give Big Pharma a kick right in the balls... which is probably why it isn't gonna happen.

    January 8, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Mahant

    Gary is right, but doing what you suggest is too logical and the right thing to do. When was the last time we did that? I am sure you heard that Americans do the right thing as a last resort!

    January 8, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Eric Shun

    #113, You didn't mention anything about kicking heroin. Sounds like you really don't know what you're talking about.....typical keyboard ninja.

    January 8, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Adam

    Yes, tobacco is more addictive than heroin. I know two former heroin addicts who still smoke cigarettes. They say that quitting smoking is 10 times harder than quitting heroin.

    January 8, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  21. claudio lage

    original of the species

    January 8, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Spoonless Eddie

    I continue to have the utmost respect and gratitude for our troops, regardless of the fact that a few here seem to feel that liberals are their enemy.

    The "War on Drugs," having been underway for at least 25 years, has proven itself to be bogus. The word "narcoterrorism" is a marcom-inspired term used to sustain it.

    The term "addiction" has been demonized. To confuse addictiveness with harmfulness is to totally miss the boat. Those comparing tobacco to heroin need a reality check.

    When we do it, we call it "marcom." When the bad guys do it we call it "propaganda." The two are the same. The effect of it is all over half of these posts.

    Dope or no dope, our young people are bleeding there while we discuss cigarettes. Reinstate the draft, so that all can pay their fair share. I want to read the comments after that.

    January 8, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Anon

    If opiates were legal, the drugs seized here would be worth maybe a few thousand dollars. But since we still wage a futile war on drugs, the drugs here are worth millions. Millions which fund terrorists who want to kill us. I do not advocate abusing opiates or any drug, but when you hand over billions of dollars to criminal and terrorist organizations due to prohibition, it is only logical to let the state control and regulate the drugs. Then people who are battling with addiction can actually get the help they desperately need. Using the law as a basis for public health is wholly idiotic.

    And yes, tobacco and alcohol are more addictive than even opiates. Legal does not mean safe. Quite a few illegal drugs are safer than legal alternatives.

    January 8, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  24. TJB

    Glen, You are to be commended for kicking these addictions but you are an individual case. Somewhere you have a counterpart who has kicked heroin addiction using his/her willpower. The studies are based on large scale studies. Perhaps if you had a heroin addiction you might have used that same willpower to successfully kick it as well.

    January 8, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  25. glen

    I am wondering what these people that think nicotine and alcohol are mor addictive than opium and heroine have been smoking. I kicked both Alcohol and nicotine addictions cold turkey with no great problem; just some will power.

    January 8, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Serge Franche

    Hummmmmmm !

    [1] Use our satellites or intelligence to identified where the poppy plants are in Afghanistan

    [2] Instead of bombarding caves or whatever other places inefficiently, let's use agent Orange
    on these plantations (Don't forget we are at war, I do not know about half wars). The
    population could not say we starve them as it is not a crop eatable

    [3] That will cut the biggest income to Taliban thus cutting access to arms and bying government

    [4] Then we will be able to win this war on terror, would take 1 week

    [5] Et voilà


    January 8, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  27. cmarrs

    Processed Drugs Duhh do you read?? the picture is showing what the poppy plant looks like not that they were destroying the Plants. Also cutting hands, flogging, caining and execution without trial are comon place in these other countries should we stand by and let those actions go un noticed? Processed Opium not growing Popies big difference and ohh by the way it may be leagal in other countries but those countries are not going to receive the 6,000 LBS because the street value in the US is 5,000 times larger than what could be gained by selling this product elseswhere. Grow up and get real! Good job to the Troups they may have just saved lives. P.S if the dealer in the US that was processing these drugs for sale lived in your neiborhood and you were of age to have teenage children how would you feel about the drugs then? Please people lets deal in reality not hypothetical B.S this is the real wold and its getting more serious every day!

    January 8, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Larry

    Ask your doctor about heroin. Yes, tobacco is more addictive. I do not agree with the use of heroin in any form while I sure do agree with the individual who spoke of using it to manufacture legal painkillers. I mean, it can all be tested chemically for purity and I'm willing to bet this stuff was pretty pure, being at the point of origin. STUPID!!!! (your government at work) I would also like to say that probably NOT millions have been killed by heroin or opium unless you total up the last 200 years and even then I doubt if you could come up with millions. Why the hell don't we worry as much about drunk drivers in this country as we do crap like this. Now there's something that kills a lot of people quite unnecessarily and usually the innocent ones and not the drunk. What about that....what about the fact the the courts in this country repeatedly allow covicted drunk drivers to repeat offend over and over until they DO kill someone. And let me say this, nobody twisted any bodys arm to use drugs....of ANY kind. It's a personal choice. Let me tell you why I see things the way I do. Marijuana is fairly harmless except to your lungs and obviously that's not a big concern in the USA because tobacco is still legal and how many have died from it. (again, personal choice) However, we have wasted MILLIONS of dollars incarcerating people for doing nothing more serious than having a little weed on them or in their possesion for personal use and looking forward to having a hit when they get home, no different than someone having a beer or two to relax. (most people who smoke pot are responsible contributing citizens. It's time we got over the picture of the unemployed and unbathed pot smoker). So, putting it all together, I don't see what the hell people are so concerned about drugs for when perfectly legal substances are killing people every day......I cite the innocents killed by drunks among this number. But guess what....alcohol is legal because we expect people to be responsible, tobacco is legal because we expect people to be responsible. RIGHT????? President Obama said it himself when he talked about bailing out AIG......simply put, the reason the government won't make tobacco and alcohol illegal......THEY ARE TOO BIG TOO FAIL!!!!!

    January 8, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Steve

    This is the problem with the Internet...any idiot with an opinion can access it!

    GET TO WORK!!!

    January 8, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Jeezy

    50 pounds of heroin is like 2.5 million wholesale and about 4 million retial. That fuels a lot of terrorism

    January 8, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  31. b3089j

    Why cant some of these folks understand that the reall war on terror IS IN THE POPPY FIELDS. Just look at the article: 100.000 deaths a year from use of heroin. Drug traffickers and there cronies are the reall weaponds of mass destruction. They kill the essence, the nucleus that holds societal stuctures together in harmony. The olny way we are going to weaken the Taliban is depleteng them of their weaponds of mass destruction. We are fighting a war against terror, and yet we consume enough of the garbage to fuel so,so many terrorist groups. Go figure......(Taliban in Afganistan and Iraq, FARC guerillas in Colombia, to mane a few)

    January 8, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Get yo money

    So let me get this straight. They create depression by blowing up buildings killing off loved ones, who then turn to drugs to cope. Brilliant.. nice jihad you hipocrite punks.. funding a holy war with drug money.. kep it real Osama...

    January 8, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  33. mike o'neill

    Helps keep the locals in power, bribes, kickbacks are the way of life over there. We can never win in the short term, it has to be a religious/cultural change and we are not doing that

    January 8, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  34. gf

    One load seized does not exactly spell the end of the drug trade there...though it will be trumpeted as a "major blow" by the DC spin machine. The end result will be that the drug powers will learn from this and simply not be as visible in the future. We're not dealing with a stupid enemy...in this case, probably one guy who became too brazen based on past successful transports.

    January 8, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Tim

    fyi read the article. they didnt destory the fields. the confiscated the drugs that was on the truck. The field is probably still entact and producing more as we type.

    January 8, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  36. ted


    January 8, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  37. sinbad

    such pretty flowers.

    January 8, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
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