Russian, U.S. and Afghan law enforcement agents seized 180 kilograms of heroin in a joint operation in northeastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, Russian narcotics agency FSKN said in a statement on Thursday.
“An operation conducted in Badakhshan Province has seized 180 kilograms of heroin, 1,500 kg of morphine, 1,200 kg of opium, 2,000 kg of opium poppy seeds and 700 kg of precursors, and destroyed six drug manufacturing labs,” the statement says.
Flooded by Afghan heroin being smuggled through former Soviet Central Asian republics, Russia has cooperated with NATO in fighting the drug business in Afghanistan for years, carrying out raids on drug laboratories and training anti-drug officers.
Russia remains highly concerned about the persisting threat of terrorism and drug trafficking from Afghanistan, particularly after international combat troops leave in 2014.
According to Russia’s federal drug control watchdog, heroin production in Afghanistan rose 40-fold in the past decade, with opium poppy plantations currently covering 130,000 hectares in the southern Central Asian country. The drug business has been a major source of income for Taliban warlords, bringing them hundreds of millions of dollars every year.
Russia consumed an estimated 70 tons of heroin in 2010, according to the UN’s World Drug Report.