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Poppy eradication team attacked in southern Afghanistan; 4 wounded

Poppy eradication team attacked in southern Afghanistan; 4 wounded

Afghan and U.S. security officials were attacked with small arms, rocket-propelled grenade and mortar fire as they hacked away at opium poppies in southern Afghanistan.
"We are taking fire!" said a panic-stricken voice over a radio on Sunday.
The Afghan and U.S. agents involved in the poppy eradication operation fled on foot, all-terrain vehicles, and helicopters. Four Afghans were wounded in the attack, said NATO's International Security Assistance Force at a base in southern Uruzgan province.
An Associated Press Television correspondent was filming when the attack took place.
"They are Taliban. They are fighting us," an Afghan agent said as bullets whizzed past.
Sunday's attack underscores the danger the counter-narcotics teams face in the south after the eradication operation was launched a day earlier in the area.
Afghanistan is the biggest producer of opium poppy in the world, yielding enough to produce 90 percent of the world's supply of heroin.
Officials say the Taliban are raking in millions of dollars through poppy taxes. The U.S. government estimates the opium trade generates US$3 billion (euro2.28 billion) a year in illicit economic activity.
Afghanistan's opium crop grew a record 59 percent in 2006 to 407,000 acres (164,700 hectares), yielding enough to make 610 tons of heroin. Western and Afghan officials say they expect a similar crop this year.
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Raul Gallego is an Associated Press Television correspondent


Updated : 2021-05-06 23:14 GMT+08:00