The U.S. military says that major drug traffickers who work with the Taliban will be targeted as focus shifts in Afghanistan to cutting off drug infrastructure and the flow of cash to Islamic militants, Reuters reported Aug. 10.
Pentagon officials say that capturing or killing top drug lords on a 50-member “hit list” is acceptable under the military’s rules of engagement in Afghanistan as well as international law regarding warfare. Top militant-related traffickers are being targeted the same as Taliban military leaders.
Some traffickers already have been caught or killed. Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Ryder, a Pentagon spokesperson, said it is “important to clarify that we are targeting terrorists with links to the drug trade, rather than targeting drug traffickers with links to terrorism.”