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Australia, Afghanistan force seize poppy seed in operation


14:48, November 03, 2011

CANBERRA, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- Afghanistan National Security Forces supported by Australia's Special Operations Task have seized and destroyed some four tonnes of poppy seed believed to have been hidden in preparation for next year's growing season, Defense Force confirmed on Thursday.

The forces also uncovered 30 kg of processed opium during an operation conducted earlier this week in the Kajaki region of Helmand province.

According to Chief of Joint Operations Lieutenant General Ash Power, destroying this quantity of poppy seed would significantly impact the insurgent-aligned syndicate's ability to plant and harvest a crop in the 2012 growing season.

He said the Afghan and Australian troops came under fire, as they entered the targeted area with shooting continuing for the duration of the mission.

"The ferocity of the insurgent response to the mission is a clear indicator of just how important this cache was to their plans," Lieutenant General Power said in a statement released on Thursday.

No members of the Australia or Afghanistan unit were killed or wounded during the mission, but several insurgents were killed during multiple engagements.

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