Afghan police stand guard as the authorities burn illegal drugs in Kabul, Afghanistan, on December 20, 2016, that were seized during different operations. On Monday, the Ministry of Interior announced Afghan National Defense and Security Forces destroyed six heroin labs in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan. Photo by Hedayatullah Amid/EPA
Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Afghanistan forces destroyed six heroin labs in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Interior announced Monday.
Afghan National Defense and Security Forces destroyed the labs during a special military operation late Saturday night in the village of Bando in the Nowzad district of southern Helmand province.
The ministry said 2,403 pounds of morphine, 33,455 pounds of ammonium chloride and 528 gallons of liquid opium, which is used in making heroin, were destroyed.
Also, six armed militants were killed, the ministry said.
"The Ministry of Interior is committed to the fight against narcotics and Afghan National Counter-narcotics Police are having major success in fighting against smugglers and narcotics, which will continue," the ministry said in a statement.
Afghanistan's potential opium production in 2016 rose to 5,300 tons, a 43 percent increase compared with the previous year, according a report published in October by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Afghanistan grows about 80 percent of the world's opium, which is used to produce highly addictive heroin, according to the report.
"There are powerful drug warlords who are running these laboratories, and the truth is, our government is too weak to confront them," Laila Haidari, an Afghan activist known as "Mother" to hundreds of former drug addicts, told Al Jazeera. "Afghanistan is the safest place for terrorism and illegal drugs."
She said that rather than "destroying a few labs," authorities should change the mindset about drug use.
"They are not honest, they lie about numbers and release reports like these to prove that they are doing their job, whereas, nothing is being done about drug addicts in Afghanistan," she said.