By International Drugs Policy Unit at the LSE US Centre
The US Department of Defence (DoD) has relented. After 16 years of refusing to bend to the pressure of those driving the counternarcotics effort in Afghanistan and destroy the 'labs' where opium is processed, DoD finally issued the authorities that allowed these buildings to be destroyed. On the first night of the campaign on 19 November 2017, 10 buildings were levelled. It was claimed that each was a drugs lab funding the Taliban. With the onset of this campaign, those working or residing in these labs were no longer viewed as civilians involved in a criminal activity but as enemy combatants and subject to lethal force. These labs and those operating them now represent in the words of General Nicholson, Commander of both US Forces in Afghanistan (USFOR-A) and the North Atlantic Council Organization (NATO) Resolute Support Mission, the 'Taliban’s narcotics financing'.
Thumbnail: Flickr CC Defence Images