NATO joining in Afghan drug war

Oct. 10, 2008 at 9:05 AM
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BUDAPEST, Hungary, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- NATO says it will send troops to join attacks on the "rampant" Afghanistan opium drug trade.

Spokesman James Appathurai said troops will act with Afghan forces "against facilities and facilitators" using drugs to finance the Taliban. Agreement was reached during a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Budapest, the BBC said.

Despite U.S. pressure, several NATO countries have expressed reluctance for a concentrated drug attack, which they say might prompt a violent backlash against allied troops.

Gen. John Craddock, NATO's top operations commander, told alliance members the Afghan opium trade is earning the Taliban insurgency about $100 million a year.

"You cannot have a safe and secure environment with a scourge of narcotics rampant," he said.

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