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$150m heroin lab destroyed: Australian commander

$150m heroin lab destroyed: Australian commander

Sep 20, 2011 - 12:40

LASHKARGAH (PANinfo-icon): A heroin laboratory, destroyed during a joint operation in southern Helmand province two days ago, was worth $150 million, a foreign official said on Tuesday.

The operation was conducted in Baghran district late on Sunday, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAFinfo-icon) media office said, adding hundreds of kilogram of chemicals, heroin and opium were destroyed.

Although ISAF did not disclose who conducted the operation, a commanding officer of the Australia Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) said two members of the group, an Afghan National Interdiction Unit officer and an interpreter were wounded.

The raid uncovered materials to make drugs with a value of $150 million ($A147 million), the biggest drug bust by Australian forces in Afghanistaninfo-icon, he said, wishing not to be named.

"The facility was one of the largest heroin-producing labs destroyed in Afghanistan over the past five years," he said, alleging income from the drug lab helped finance insurgent attacks against coalition and Afghan forces.

Three of the seriously wounded, including one Australian, were flown out and transferred to a medical facility at Camp Bastion in Helmand for special care. The Australian soldier is reported to be in a stable condition.

The other digger sustained a superficial wound and remained with the patrol to complete the mission.

Weapons, ammunition and a large quantity of narcotics- manufacturing equipment and chemicals were seized and destroyed. An unspecified number of insurgents were killed.

Others were detained and taken to the base in Tirinkot. Of the 1550 Australian soldiers stationed in Uruzgan within the ISAF framework, 29 have been killed and 194 wounded since 2001.



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