Afghan War Intensifies: US Stealth Fighters Target Narcotics Production Facilities

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.



Grimaldus JimmyJones Sat, 11/25/2017 - 08:18 Permalink

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.    Grimaldus

In reply to by JimmyJones

shamus001 ThePhantom Sat, 11/25/2017 - 09:01 Permalink

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!

In reply to by ThePhantom

ThePhantom ThePhantom Sat, 11/25/2017 - 16:08 Permalink

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...

In reply to by ThePhantom

OverTheHedge JohnG Sat, 11/25/2017 - 11:02 Permalink

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.

In reply to by JohnG

The Wizard NoDecaf Sat, 11/25/2017 - 00:28 Permalink

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.

In reply to by NoDecaf