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American Forces Press Service

Troops Uncover Opium, Weapons Caches in Afghanistan

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 11, 2010 – Forces have uncovered numerous weapons caches and large amounts of narcotics during operations in Afghanistan over the past few days.

Today, an international force discovered one ton of opium in the back of a vehicle during a patrol in Helmand province.

The driver and two passengers were seen hiding the vehicle behind a sand dune and fled on foot. They threw an assault rifle in nearby bushes.

Troops caught the men and placed them in custody. The drugs were destroyed.

In other operations today:

-- An international force discovered a cache of 320 large-caliber machine gun rounds, three rocket-propelled grenades, two pressure plates, an artillery round, eight mortars and assault rifle ammunition in Helmand province.

-- Forces found two rocket-propelled grenade rounds and a grenade launcher in Oruzgan province.

-- As a combined force searched a compound on the east side of Kandahar City they detained an undisclosed number of suspected militants.

Yesterday, an Afghan civilian led troops to a 500-pound bomb while they were on patrol in Kandahar province.

"This patriot saved the lives of countless neighbors, children and friends," said Italian Brig. General Luigi Scollo. "Actions like these help build a better and safer Afghanistan today for a more prosperous Afghanistan tomorrow."

Since Oct. 1, about 150 Afghans have received cash rewards for reporting weapons caches or providing tips leading to the recovery of multiple weapons.

In other operations yesterday:

-- A combined security force captured a terrorist cell operator and other militants responsible for bombing attacks in Khost province. The force recovered multiple weapons, including a machine gun, ammunition and hand grenades.

-- Afghan and international forces found a weapons cache in Herat province. The cache contained two rockets, two mortar rounds, two anti-tank mines, two pressure plates and five artillery rounds.

-- In Nangarhar province, a combined force searched a compound and captured a Taliban operator responsible for bombing and suicide attacks, along with other militants. The assault force found a pistol and several grenades.

-- A joint security force captured a militant while searching a compound in Wardak province. They recovered two rocket-propelled grenade rounds.

-- Forces captured a Taliban commander in Kandahar province after searching a vehicle.

-- A security force captured a Taliban operator and other militants in Kandahar. The man was directly involved in the acquisition of weapons, ammunition and explosives.

-- During a search of a compound in Khost province, a security force captured a terrorist network operator and other militants believed responsible for preparing and coordinating the movement of weapons, ammunition, explosives and suicide bombers.

-- Also in Khost, a force detained a suspected militant while searching for a wanted terrorist.

In operations Jan. 9:

-- A combined security force searched a compound in Zharay district and detained an undisclosed number of suspected militants.

-- In Nangahar province, troops captured a Taliban operator, responsible for conducting attacks against Afghan and international forces, and other militants during a search of a compound. The search team recovered a pistol and a fragmentation grenade.

-- Forces found a cache of six rockets along with machine gun ammunition in Helmand province. The munitions will be destroyed.

-- Afghan Border Police and international forces uncovered 18 homemade bombs, 10 mortar rounds, rocket-propelled grenades and launchers, in addition to several boxes of small caliber ammunition in several caches over a several mile area in eastern Afghanistan.

-- An international patrol discovered a weapons cache including two 155-mm artillery rounds, 15 rocket-propelled grenade rounds and bomb-making materials in Helmand province.

In operations Jan. 8:

-- Afghan National Police working with ISAF air and ground elements coordinated to seize more than 800 pounds of opium in Helmand province. Four arrests were made.

(Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command news releases.)

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