US, Afghan Forces Kill 60 in Massive Taliban Drug Raid

By Caroline Miller,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2009 9:43 AM CDT
U.S. Marines Capt. J.R. Farris, left, and Cpl. M.A. Madding return fire from behind a primary school wall as Taliban fighters attack them.   (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
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(Newser) – US and Afghan forces seized a massive drug cache and and killed 60 militants in a four-day operation in Helmand province, Reuters reports. The troops scored more than 17 tons of morphine, opium, and heroin, along with 75 tons of poppy seeds, and caches of weapons and equipment, the military said. 

The initiative included air strikes on buildings used for drug making and strategic planning. Civilians had been escorted out of the area before the assault, and an unmanned aircraft was used to observe the scene "to detect any attempts by militants and criminals to change the conditions to falsely claim civilian casualties," the military said.