Image: Gulf drug busts
AP file
A boarding team from the Royal Navy's HMS Chatham boards a vessel in the Persian Gulf on Thursday in a handout photo made available by the Combined Maritime Forces.
updated 7/15/2008 7:11:01 PM ET 2008-07-15T23:11:01

Coalition warships seized 30 tons of narcotics over the past five months on Persian Gulf patrols, cutting off possible funds for insurgents in Afghanistan, the U.S. Navy said in a statement Tuesday.

The majority of the busts were carried out by the British navy. Drugs seized included hashish, opiates, cocaine and amphetamines, the statement said, without giving a specific breakdown.

Commodore Keith Winstanley, the British navy's commander in the Middle East, said illegal drugs are "one of the gravest threats to the long-term security of Afghanistan and a vital source of funding for the Taliban warlords."

Winstanley said the seizure of the drugs dealt "a significant blow to the illegal trade."

Afghanistan is the world's biggest opium producer. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said last month that the country also appears to have become the world's top grower of cannabis, overtaking Morocco. The resin from cannabis is molded to create hash. UNODC estimates that some 170,000 acres of cannabis was grown in Afghanistan last year, up from 120,000 acres in 2006.

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