Afghan War Intensifies: US Stealth Fighters Target Narcotics Production Facilities

Tyler Durden's picture

16-years after the Bush administration began military operations in Afghanistan, President Trump has just launched a military campaign of his own using high-tech stealth fighters to bomb drug labs in the country.

The Pentagon’s playbook of nation building in the Middle East has stretched, now, to three Presidents making it the longest war in U.S. history. Ever since the U.S. started occupying the country in the early 2000s, opium production soared. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said without drugs, the war in Afghanistan “would have been long over.”

In 2017, Afghanistan’s opium crop and production both hit a record high, despite the increased efforts by government to stop the drug trade. For the Taliban and other criminal elements in the region, opium is an important revenue source to fund operations.

On Monday, the Defense Department said it unleashed F-22 Raptor stealth fighters to bomb narcotic production facilities in southern Afghanistan targeting the revenue streams of the Taliban. The air operation started on Sunday and continued through Monday. The F-22s were accompanied by B-52 bombers and Afghan A-29 Super Tucanos for additional support to expand the strike mission.

According to the Washington Post,

This represents the first significant use of new legal authorities granted by the Trump administration in August that enable the Pentagon to target Taliban revenue streams, said Army Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.


Previously, the U.S. military conducted strikes only when facing imminent threat or working directly with the Afghans. 

Nicholson said, the F-22 “was used because of its ability to deliver precision munitions — in this case, a 250-pound bomb, small-diameter, that causes the minimal amount of collateral damage.” The objective for more precise munitions comes at a time where civilian deaths in U.S. airstrikes have been heavily scrutinized. Earlier this month, U.S. airstrikes in the region killed ‘at least 13 civilians’ in a bombing raid.

“This target was also a Taliban narcotics production facility in Musa Qala. So I want to draw your attention — as you look at this strike, you’re going to see that inside this compound are multiple structures, and we destroy only two of them, while leaving the third standing, which we do to avoid collateral damage,” Nicholson said.

The Drug Enforcement Administration estimates there are 400 to 500 narcotic production facilities across Afghanistan. In the latest strike about 10 of them were taken out. The concentration of strikes resided in the Helmand province, an area where Taliban hold strong control.

Opium cultivation change in Afghanistan 2015/2016 shown on the chart below indicates a rapid increase in the northern tier of the country.

More details of the operation per The Washington Post,

The strikes Sunday hit seven Taliban drug laboratories and a headquarters in three districts across northern Helmand. Three occurred in Kajaki district, four in Musa Qala and one in Sangin — all areas controlled by the U.S. military at the height of Obama’s troop surge there. The largest, carried out by a B-52, struck a opium-processing facility where 50 barrels of drugs were cooking at the time, Nicholson said. Video released by the Pentagon shows the building being consumed by a massive fireball.


The U.S. government has pursued various anti-drug strategies during its 16-year war in Afghanistan, but it has done little to hamper the steady resurgence of opium poppy cultivation and drug trafficking since the Taliban’s fall in 2001. While in power before the U.S. invasion, the Taliban banned poppy growing as un-Islamic and staged bonfires of confiscated opium and heroin.


Until now, though, those U.S. efforts have not directly involved the military. During the early post-Taliban years, the Pentagon focused exclusively on pursuing al-Qaeda and Taliban insurgents and expressly avoided diverting efforts toward curbing the drug trade. In some cases, this was because of U.S. alliances with warlords or regional strongmen who were involved in drugs.


Later, as both poppy production and drug trading rebounded, the U.S. launched several ambitious programs to counter them. One was a crop substitution campaign that encouraged and paid farmers to grow almonds, apricots, green vegetables and saffron instead of poppy. Another paid farmers cash to destroy their poppy fields and funded interdiction campaigns in which Afghan security forces burned fields under cultivation.


These efforts were fatally hampered by a mix of factors, including the enormous appeal of drug profits, the long-accepted tradition of poppy growing by small farmers, the involvement of powerful Afghans in the trade, local hostility to interdiction, and the hardiness that enabled poppy plants to thrive in harsh and dry conditions.


Meanwhile, the Taliban insurgents, apparently abandoning their previous religious scruples, became increasingly involved in both poppy cultivation and drug trafficking as a means of supporting the war, especially in Helmand province. At first they primarily demanded taxes from growers, but gradually the overlap between Taliban recruits and local agricultural labor became so pronounced that the insurgents essentially suspended military operations during poppy harvest seasons.

In the latest figures from the United Nations, “Afghanistan opium production jumps 87 per cent to record level”… Most of the increase has occurred under the United States occupation of the region.

It seems as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is bullish on President Trump’s new campaign to bomb the nation’s narcotic facilities...

Perhaps in a preview of things to come, Sunday through Monday’s U.S airstrikes in Afghanistan signal the war is about to intensify.

Stealth fighters and other support aircraft only managed to knockout 10 narcotic facilities and as the report states there are about another 400-500 to go.


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jeff montanye's picture

if true langley is pissed.

Déjà view's picture

Western Opium Wars & Dens...karma!

NoDecaf's picture

Greg Hunter "I am for Israel" @ 19:18

on Thanksgiving nonetheless


you lost me Greg.

Croesus's picture

US Stealth Fighters Target "COMPETITORS'" Narcotics Production Facilities - There, fixed it for ya.

cynicalskeptic's picture

Wasn't it reported that opium base was flown out of Afghanistan by US interests to be processed into Heroin in Kosovo labs? 

Afghanistan wasn't the best place for higher end processing........

Restorative_Ally's picture

US loses control of opium production -> US pushes "opioid epidemic" because supply is insufficient -> US bombs competing producers

fleur de lis's picture

If any of the Swamp's facilities were zapped they will be so ticked off.


ThePhantom's picture

stories lately of military choppers circling Langely for 1/2 hour then leaving... thought to be a message to knock it the fuck off with funding supporting isis and alqaida.. similar story line here perhaps

ParticularlyStupidHumanoid's picture

I see the CIA is eliminating the competition.

Fish Gone Bad's picture

Drugs employ so very many people, from farmers to prison guards to rehab centers.  As ass-backwards as this sounds, "drugs" are good for American employment.  If the US bombed any "friendly" lab, it was so they could rebuild a newer, better, and bigger facility.  The opiate epidemic is just starting.

waterwitch's picture

Why use stealth fighters when drones seem highly capable? 

Killtruck's picture

Gotta keep the demand high, and the prices up. 

Besides, a little live-fire product testing never hurt the sales flyer...

God Emperor's picture

Nothing better that a stealth fighter to bomb some latrines.

Lets be honest, no drugs were harmed during these raids.

Bes's picture

the irony

is that

we are supposedly building a wall to stop drugs from

coming over the border

meanwhile we are

waging the biggest narco

war in history


"Afghan War Intensifies: US Stealth Fighters Target non-CIA Narcotics Production Facilities"

there fixed it for you.   : )

HowdyDoody's picture

The Syndicate gave this incident the codename Operation Milo Minderbinder.

Conscious Reviver's picture

Pretty funny they sent a B52 to ride shotgun. What's that doing over Afghanistan if the plan is to reduce collateral damage??

grizfish's picture

How else can they justify the existence of these overpriced missile taxis?

JimmyJones's picture

Looks like President Trump un cuffed the military to help drain the Swamp of Revenue streams. We are witnessing Military Intel vs CIA globalist intel.

Grimaldus's picture

Standing armies in foreign countries is a progressive thing, a thing of tyranny and is not American.

"Henry St. George Tucker in Blackstone’s 1768 Commentaries on the Laws of England: “Wherever standing armies are kept up, and when the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.”

To have tyranny you must first have a progressive.






SilverRhino's picture

Or maybe JSOC is destroying the CIA's off-books revenue stream.

shamus001's picture

Well...there goes the Clinton Pension Plan! - first the Presidency, then the Clinton foundation scuttled, then shuttering the pedo ring, NOW her opium business built over the past 16 years!....HELL at this rate, Killary's gonna be actually using social security while Bills in the slammer!

She should've just left well enough alone, and bowed out with grace, but Obama and her kept screwing with "The Don". Now Bammys in lockup (or exile in a foreign land- different sources) Hill & Bill are on the purple ropes... SOROS IS NEXT!

veritas semper vinces's picture

Well,pay attention. The US is eliminating the competition. The See Eye Ayy/Pentagon run opium traffick is alive and well. Distributed through NATO bases(like Kosovo) and through diplomatic personnel(like gun traffick)

ThePhantom's picture

also, i don't know if anyones been watching the TV "news" but it also seems heavily influenced by the Intelligence Comunity...with perhaps one exception to that rule being Fox, not that i love fox. don't tell me MSNBC or CNN are NEWS... or informative, they rather divide the country in the worst possible ways..with idiocy and partisan talking points designed to mislead and obfuscate ones own parties misdeads and corruption while screaming about the others misdeeds.... like two guilty parties trying desperately to destroy the other before they themselves are destoyed. looks to me like EVERYBODY IS GUILTY....from the government to the cia controlled MSM and they are trying like hell to keep you from seeing it...

MonetaryApostate's picture

Anyone know why Heroine was so big of an epidemic in vietnam?

JimmyJones's picture

Because the CIA wanted a but load of $ to fund black ops for the advancement of the NWO agenda. 

shovelhead's picture

No idea. Like slogging through a jungle and getting ambushed wasn't enough fun already.

JohnG's picture

It was cheap, available, and made the soldiers able to forget for a while the horrible, horrible shit they saw and were ordered to do.  Never did heroin but I did smoke a hell of a lot of hash.

OverTheHedge's picture

My experience with heroine users (never tried it myself - too addictive for my taste), is that they tend to be self-medicating, whilst living in crappy circumstances. Heroine use increases during recessions, i.e. low employment periods. No money, no job, no prospects, no life - fix it (hard) or take heroine (easy).

In the same vein, I would expect cocaine use to peak at frothy market tops, such as now. However, I thought I would check before spouting off about something I am not qualified to talk about, and discovered that US cocaine statistics are skewed by cannabis being legalised, and crack-cocain, which is not quite the same beast as boring old cocaine, so I can't smugly confirm that I was right, as I have no idea. Still, it's a nice theory, which would have proven that for the 1% life is on the up and up, and for the rest of us its getting worse and worse.

Chuck Walla's picture

And I bet it was Afghani HAsh. Asia was full of it and delish it was. 

With incised logos of a crown over crossed swords and a ring of Arabic around it.

Iwanttoknow's picture

CIA enlisted the hmong people of laotian hilly areas to cultivate was refined in CIA ran labs in laos.From there CIA outfits like air america would fly it, to be sold on the streets of newyork.

grizfish's picture

It's not like the CIA invented the concept of profiting from the distribution of drugs.  The French colonized Indochina for 200 years using rubber plantations as a front.  These operations stretch back to the Opium Wars where China ousted the UK from control of their population.

HRClinton's picture

(((They))) hate the Taliban, because the Taliban opted for a pipeline deal with Iran and China, over the US and Turkmenistan. 

The DOD and CYA are just the Goon Squad for our Petroleum intetests and Petrodollar (((owners))).

Crazy Or Not's picture

I'd love to know the cost of:
F-22 Raptor bomb run vs Operational costs & yield of Heroin Lab. I feel we're at the wrong end of a financial equation there!!!

>DOD CYA goon squad... absolutley! 

Still one of the best summaries as to how this boat floats:

JimmyJones's picture

Depends are we including the full price of the plane or just the operational cost of the mission and munitions? 

Crazy Or Not's picture

Pilot's breakfast was in excess of H. production costs?

peddling-fiction's picture

It sounds bullish for the MIC.

Carry on.

Good thing the Taliban did not have an active S-200 lying around.

Crazy Or Not's picture

>MIC -bullish
Key metrics of "Charile Wilson's War" - SAM's  
Asian handlers pay premium for Raptor parts.
S-200 ...Iran before Taliban.

Clashfan's picture

Huh-huh, you said "goon squad."

And that's about what they are. Yup..

grizfish's picture

Before we went into Afghanistan, the Taliban was in control.  Since then the Heroin exports have increased ten-fold.  Reality is a bitch.

Consuelo's picture





That is precisely what is going on here.   And to think that there are Americans who are brain-dead enough to buy this anti-terror-taliban nonsense has to be the absolute pinnacle of their stupidity.

SoDamnMad's picture

Sure, use one of the most expensive hourly aircraft and maybe use smart bombs at over $100,000. a piece to do what a Warthog could do without using DU ammo and iron bombs.  Hey, our credit card never hits it's limit thanks to John McStain.

Chuck Walla's picture

Can you say 'caves'?  Harder to bomb except for the bariatric type.

serotonindumptruck's picture

He clearly values his Thirty Pieces of Silver over that of his own tribe.

+1 for exposing the Judas Iscariot known as Greg Hunter.


HRClinton's picture

Greg Hunter. Another Ziocuck exposed. Good to know.

The Wizard's picture

That is because Hunter is listening to the common interpretation the modern churches preach about a geographical area called Israel. Israel is a people, not a geography. He believes those in Israel are the Israelites of the OT. A total fabrication. Rather than listening to moron preachers, he ought to study a little deeper. The Jesus he speaks of was exposing the counterfeit Jews over 2,000 years ago.  The Edomites took over the concept of "Jew" over 2,000 years ago. This is not to say all of those calling themselves Jews are not Israelites, but a vast majority are counterfeits. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Here is what the bible states about them back at the time of Christ.

The seven churches are a pattern for modern day churches. Out of seven churches, God has favor with only two of the churches. What do they have in common?

Rev 2:1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith He that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

 2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

 3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.

 4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

 5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

 6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

 7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

 8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

 9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

 10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

 11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

 12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith He which hath the sharp sword with two edges;

 13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast My name, and hast not denied My faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

 14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

 15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

 16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.

 17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

 18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;

 19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.

 20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce My servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

 21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.

 22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

 23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

 24 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.

 25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.

 26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:

 27 And He shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

 28 And I will give him the morning star.

 29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Rev 3:1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.

 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

 3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.

 4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.

 5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before his angels.

 6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;

8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept My word, and hast not denied My name.

9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.

10 Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from My God: and I will write upon him My new name.

13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

 14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth.

 17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

 18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

 20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.

 21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with mMy Father in his throne.

 22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.