Soldiers turned smugglers

British troops accused of trafficking heroin from Afghanistan

By Chris Pike

Last week the British Ministry of Defence started an inquiry due to claims that troops may have been smuggling heroin into Britain through Afghanistan.

According to the BBC The Ministry of Defence said they were aware of “unsubstantiated” claims that troops were using military aircraft to ship the drug out of the country.

“Although they are unsubstantiated, we take any such reports very seriously and we have already tightened our existing procedures both in Afghanistan and in the UK, including through increasing the use of trained sniffer dogs,” a ministry spokeswoman said to the BBC.

The inquiry will be focusing on personnel working at the airports in Kandahar and Camp Bastion. The Royal Military Police Special Investigation Branch had launched their investigation before the allegations were reported to the media, reported the  Associated Press.

Security at both British and Afghan airbases has been greatly increased with the introduction of drug sniffing dogs.

“We regret any inconvenience this causes to our service personnel. Any of our people found to be engaged in trafficking of illegal narcotics will feel the full weight of the law,” the Ministry of Defence said to the BBC.

Afghanistan is the source of 90% of the world’s opium, of which 98% is grown in only seven of the country’s provinces. According to a UN report, permanent Taleban settlements are set up in these areas in order to profit from this volatile business.

Opium poppies naturally produce small amounts of morphine and codeine, as well as other painkilling drugs. These ingredients can be chemically processed to make heroin.

The annual exports of heroin from Afghanistan average three billion dollars. This money helps fuel the insurgency and allows militants to purchase weapons with which they then attack the Afghan government and international forces, further destabilizing the region.

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