NATO Troops Target Afghan Drug Lords

Troops given green light to attack industry that funds Taliban insurgents
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2008 7:19 AM CDT
A damaged US military vehicle lies crippled yesterday after of a suicide attack on a convoy in Behsood district of Nangahar province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
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(Newser) – NATO has given its troops permission to go after Afghanistan's drugs labs and opium kingpins, Agence France Presse reports. Some members of the alliance had been wary of targeting the industry, fearful of alienating farmers. But the Afghan government has given its blessing to attacks on the trade that puts $100 million a year into the Taliban's coffers.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates "is extremely pleased that after 2 days of thoughtful discussion NATO has decided to allow ISAF forces to take on the drug traffickers who are fueling the insurgency, destabilizing Afghanistan and killing our troops," a Pentagon spokesman said.