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SBS Target Drug Lords

24.03.2008

The Special Boat Service (SBS) has reportedly begun targeting drug smugglers in Afghanistan. Up till now, the SBS has mainly been involved in going after Taliban leadership (See here) but recent developments signal a shift towards direct action against the drugs trade that supports the Taliban operation.

The use of Special Forces against the opium farmers of Afghanistan is a controversial move, one that many predict will turn the populace, many of whom's only income comes from growing poppies, against NATO and the Afghanistan government, undermining so-called 'hearts and minds' operations.

There is already anger amongst some Afghans following a raid by the SBS in which an farmer and his six year old son were killed. During the operation, which took place in Nad Ali, Helmand Province, the SBS blew open door of the farmer's house with explosives and stormed the building. When the farmer did not respond to calls from the SBS to raise his hands, instead making a movement with his hands that caused the Marines to fear he was going for a gun, he was shot. Tragically, a round went through the farmer and killed his son. 9lb of opium were discovered in the house. Whilst the SBS certainly did not target the child, the death of the farmer and his son has enraged the local population.

Further reading:
Special Forces have Afghan drug lords in sights
(The Telegraph)

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