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US targets Taliban drug labs under new Afghan strategy

November 20, 2017 08:22 AM

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The top U.S. general in Afghanistan says American aircraft have targeted drug producing facilities for the first time under a new strategy aimed at cutting off Taliban funding.

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Gen. John Nicholson said Monday that the raids involving an F-22 bomber were carried out the day before in the southern Helmand province. He says the insurgents generate an estimated $200 million a year from poppy cultivation and opium production.

He says he has been ordered to target drug facilities under a new strategy announced by President Donald Trump in August.

A joint survey released by the U.N. and the Afghan government found that opium production has almost doubled this year compared to 2016, while areas that are under poppy cultivation rose by 63 percent.

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Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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