Police arrest two soldiers caught smuggling 64 kilograms of heroin

Police have arrested two soldiers caught smuggling 64 kilograms (140 pounds) of heroin in an army ambulance in Afghanistan, the world's top producer of the drug, officials said Thursday.

The Afghan army officer and his driver were caught as they were traveling from the capital, Kabul, to the southern city of Kandahar, where many of the opium poppies used to make heroin are grown, said Ghulam Rasool, a local police chief.

They were arrested Wednesday at a checkpoint in Zabul province on the main highway linking the two cities, he said. The two had stashed the drugs under the seats of the ambulance. They were taken to Kandahar for questioning.

Afghan security forces are believed to be involved in the country's drug trade, both producing the narcotics and smuggling them.

Afghanistan supplies some 90 percent of the world's heroin. Despite the international community spending hundreds of millions of dollars fighting the trade, poppy cultivation is up this year by as much as 40 percent.

The United States and Britain are backing a government campaign that uses tractors to destroy the opium fields before they can be harvested, but only about 10 percent of the crop is expected to be eradicated, reports the AP.


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