Russian and US drugs officers destroy Afghan heroin factory

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The Independent Online

US and Russian drug control agencies have raided heroin and opium labs in Afghanistan in an unprecedented collaborative bust, destroying $250m (£156m) worth of drugs, officials said yesterday.

Afghan forces were also involved in the raid on four laboratories near the Pakistan border, a US Embassy spokesperson said.

"This operation significantly damaged heroin manufacturing capabilities ... and at the same time demonstrated the will of the Afghan nation and those allies who are impacted by drug trafficking to take necessary steps to bring stability to the country," said the spokesperson.

Russian anti-narcotics chief Viktor Ivanov said his agency cooperated closely with the US counterparts to organise the bust, which destroyed 932kg of heroin and 156kg of opium.

Ivanov said that 70 men, including US and Afghan security personnel and four Russian drug agents, took part in the raid backed by nine US helicopters in Nangarhar province.

He said his agency provided the US with information on the location of the labs hidden in the mountains near the border with Pakistan. Ivanov said the drugs and equipment to produce them were destroyed and didn't report any casualties.

He said Russia may increase the number of its drug agents in Afghanistan in the future.

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