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Southwest Asia: Afghanistan Makes "World's Largest" Drug Bust -- 260 Tons of Hash Destroyed

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #539)
Consequences of Prohibition

Afghan police found and destroyed a whopping 260 tons of hashish near Spin Boldak in Kandahar province near the Pakistan border Monday. The contraband cannabis was buried in trenches and bunkers in the desert, and the stash was so extensive that NATO called in two aircraft to bomb it. Also found was five tons of opium.

hidden drug cache, Afghanistan 2008 (from
In a Wednesday press release, NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) claimed to have struck a major blow against the Taliban, which is strong in Kandahar and widely thought to profit handsomely -- along with many other actors -- from the Afghan drug trade.

"With this single find, the police have seriously crippled the Taliban's ability to purchase weapons that threaten the safety and security of the Afghan people and the region," said General David McKiernan, commander of ISAF, the International Security Assistance Force.

The hash had an estimated regional wholesale value of $400 million. ISAF officials estimated that the Taliban would have pocketed about $14 million from the sale of the drugs. But despite McKiernan's claim, that's chump change compared to the hundreds of millions of dollars the Taliban is estimated to make each year from the opium trade.

burning of hash cache, Afghanistan 2008 (from
The seizure of such a massive quantity of hashish should also raise questions about the Afghan government's overall anti-drug program. While Afghan and Western officials praised Afghanistan for eradicating opium production in some northern provinces last year, it appears farmers there simply switched over to cannabis.

Still, NATO and the West were patting themselves and their Afghan partners on the back. "This was the largest ever single find of narcotics in history," British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said in a statement. "It reflects the efforts of the Afghan government against the drug trade, and was so large that two aircraft were brought in to destroy the underground bunker in which the hashish was being stored."

"The Afghan National Police Special Task Force has made a huge step forward in proving its capability in curbing the tide of illegal drug trade in this country," said General McKiernan. "The international community will continue to support the Afghan forces with more of the same training and support that helped them achieve such success in this mission."

Meanwhile, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime's most recent report on the Afghan crop, Afghan opium production this year looks to maintain its record high levels. The country currently supplies more than 90% of the world's opium.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

One has to stop and wonder about the U.S. government's ability to fabricate the presumed "Owner of the Hash" theory, as it is just as likely that the hash belonged to Afghani leaders, government officials, or even the Afghani people. In short the U.S. has no sovereign right to bomb a hash bunker, regardless of who it may have belonged to, when we're supposed to be out there to catch Osama bin Laden.

And, don't ignore the "pocket change" commentary regarding this story. Did we really send our military troops, our soldiers, into Afghanistant to bomb "pocket change?" If Hamid Karzai had any common sense, he'd recognize that the Bush administration doing little more than disenfranchising his people with U.S. Hash Bombs.

Fri, 06/13/2008 - 2:03pm Permalink
Malkavian (not verified)

260 tons of hash - that's kinda impressive if you calculate the amount of joints you could roll from those tons. I just wonder. I'm from Denmark, a country of just 5-6 million people, that's something like 1/4 of New York or something similar.

When police busted 14 tons of hash on a fishing boat in Denmark some years ago prices weren't affected in the least. So this bust is like 19 busts of this size. Something like five New Yorks could absorb this. LOL.

Fri, 06/13/2008 - 5:16pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

excellent point it's all perspective.
if that stash is only 5 ny's then what is the world demand/supply

Sat, 06/14/2008 - 6:12pm Permalink
sicntired (not verified)

[email protected],Vancouver,B.C.Canada While the Afghans are putting on one of their dog and pony shows in the desert.The British Army has assured farmers that they will protect the opium crop.Canadians have been witness to lesser d&p shows and are also told to leave poppies alone.It makes one wonder whose pot it was as every time the AA goes into battle they toke up at every lull in the firing.They may have sacrificed what was left from what they needed to keep the army fighting and to give the Americans film to show back home.This is the most phony and corrupt drug war in the history of the abomination.As usual the CIA runs the heroin and blames everyone else.

Mon, 06/16/2008 - 7:32am Permalink
World of Hurt (not verified)

Please Help me to find a Pain Management Doctor that takes United Healthcare Insurance through the State of MD. My Doctor of 8 years has transferred to Anesthesiology and my New Doctor refuses to treat me because of his beliefs. it took many year working with my Doctor to find the combination of Meds which gave me my life back, to pursue old hobbies and even write 2 books.I am a 51 year old male who has had numerous injuries and two surgeries, the second of which was a failure. Please Help me!

I do not abuse my Medication, nor do I sell it. It is a shame that it only takes a few assholes to ruin Management of Chronic Pain for those who really need it like myself. Addicts need a different kind of Tx and people who sell there Meds should be locked up.

Fri, 07/16/2010 - 7:37am Permalink

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