KABUL – Military commanders from the United States and NATO and the army chiefs of Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Afghanistan met in Kabul on Tuesday to coordinate efforts in the fight against drug-trafficking and terrorism.
The head of United States Central Command, Gen. Joseph Votel, chaired the meeting, which was attended by Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of US forces in Afghanistan, as well as army chiefs of Pakistan and Afghanistan, Qamar Javed Bajwa and Sharif Yaftali respectively, among others.
Afghan Defense Ministry spokesperson Dawlat Waziri said the officials discussed “ways and solutions on counter-terrorism efforts and the fight against drugs.”
The meeting came after Afghan and US troops adopted a new strategy in their fight against drug-trafficking.
As part of the new approach, American and Afghan forces began to bomb Taliban drug factories in November.
According to data from the US forces, the Taliban annually earn about $200 million from the drug trade, which is more than they need to cover the costs of their war against international and local troops.
Opium production in Afghanistan grew 87 percent in 2017 to an estimated 9,000 tons, a record amount that was accompanied by a 63 percent rise in the area dedicated to poppy cultivation, according to a joint report by the Afghan government and the United Nations.