“I’m not much for this war. I’m not sure it’s worth all those lives lost,” said Sergeant Christian Richardson as we walked across corn fields that will soon be ploughed up to plant a spring crop of opium poppy.
– Afghanistan opium production reaches 6,900 tons (PressTV)
Opium production rate has soared to 6,900 tons in Afghanistan in the past 10 years ‘despite‘ the presence of 100,000 foreign troops in the country for nearly eight years.
A report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime said on Wednesday that Afghanistan produces 92 percent of the world’s opium that has devastating global consequences.
The UN report also noted that Afghanistan’s illegal opium production is worth 65 billion dollars.
The heroin and opium market feeds 15 million addicts, with Europe, Russia and Iran consuming half the supply, UNODC reported.
Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) — Three Drug Enforcement Administration personnel were among 14 Americans killed when three helicopters went down in Afghanistan on Monday, a law enforcement source said.
They were the first DEA personnel to be killed in Afghanistan.
Afghan crashes kill 14 Americans
Dozens of American soldiers have died in Afghanistan this year
At least 14 Americans have been killed in a series of air crashes in Afghanistan, military officials say.
In the first incident, four US soldiers died and two were hurt when two helicopters collided mid-air in the south, Nato-led forces said.
In a separate incident seven soldiers and three civilians were killed in a helicopter crash in the west.
Hostile fire was ruled out as a cause of the collision, in which another 12 Americans and 14 Afghans were injured.
No cause has yet been identified for the mid-air collision.
This year has seen the highest death toll of international troops in Afghanistan since the Taliban were overthrown in 2001.
There have been dozens of American soldiers among those killed.
Source: BBC News
Three US helicopters crash in Afghanistan
Rescue operations are under way across Afghanistan, after three helicopters crashed in a series of pre-dawn sorties, leaving at least four (Now at least 14.) US troops dead and two others seriously injured.
Two helicopters collided in mid-air, in the south of the country, while a third went down under heavy fire in the west, moments after extracting soldiers from a daring night raid against one of the region’s most wanted drug smugglers.
US officials said hostile fire was not involved in the mid-air collision, but they are still investigating the cause of the second crash.
The soldiers injured in the collision were evacuated to military hospitals, but a rescue operation to recover casualties from the second crash was still ongoing, officials said.
Elite US troops had launched an airborne assault against a compound in western Afghanistan, believed to “harbour insurgents” linked to Afghanistan’s multi-billion dollar opium trade.
“During the operation, insurgent forces engaged the joint force and more than a dozen enemy fighters were killed in the ensuing fire fight,” a military spokesman said.
“As the joint force was departing the area, one helicopter went down due to unconfirmed reasons. Military casualties are reported and a recovery operation is under way.”
Details of the units and the types of helicopters involved have been withheld until the rescue operations are complete.
Both southern and western Afghanistan have seen a surge of US troops.
A spokesman for the Taleban claimed responsibility. Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said: “There was fighting in the bazaar between foreign troops and the Taleban. During the fighting the Taleban shot down a foreign helicopter.”
October 26, 2009
Jerome Starkey, Kabul
Source: Times Online
– Top US commander in Afghanistan: The Taliban have gained the upper hand:
The Taliban have gained the upper hand in Afghanistan, the top American commander there said, forcing the U.S. to change its strategy in the eight-year-old conflict by increasing the number of troops in heavily populated areas like the volatile southern city of Kandahar, the insurgency’s spiritual home. Gen. Stanley McChrystal warned that means U.S. casualties, already running at record levels, will remain high for months to come.
(Source: The Wall Street Journal)