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Afghan Security Forces Seize Heroin Shipment

American Forces Press Service

HERAT, Afghanistan, April 23, 2005 – Officers from the Transitional Afghan Border Security Force, along with a small contingent of coalition forces, seized 479 kilograms (1,054 pounds) of heroin along Afghanistan's northwestern border April 17.

The bust also netted seven Afghans suspected of smuggling operations. The suspects are being held by Afghan forces.

"The border crossing is known as a hot spot for smuggling operations in the western region," a coalition spokesman said in a press release. "It's estimated the Afghan government loses $300 million a year in taxable goods through its borders."

The Transitional Afghan Border Security Force was assembled in Kabul two weeks ago and is made up of 229 border police volunteers from throughout the country. Its mission is to conduct operations at the Islam Qalah border checkpoint and 13 adjoining border points in order to secure the border, control illicit trade and interdict narcotrafficking.

The primary goal is to set the conditions for corruption-free immigration, customs revenue control and collections, officials said.

"This is counternarcotics at its best. The entire operation was planned, led and executed by the Afghans," said U.S. Army Maj. Anthony W. Oliver, liaison officer for the mission. "All we supplied was coaching, mentoring and some logistics."

The street value of the seized heroin is estimated at $2 million, officials said.

(From a Combined Forces Command Afghanistan news release.)

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