Congressional leaders want the Pentagon to crack down on major drug traffickers in Afghanistan after learning that al Qaeda and other terrorist groups are relying more on illicit proceeds from the heroin trade, says U.S. News & World Report. Investigators say one drug kingpin is providing Osama bin Laden’s forces with $24 million a year in heroin. Illinois Rep. Henry Hyde, chairman of the House International Relations Committee, will disclose the investigators’ findings this week.
Afghanistan produces most of the world’s illicit opium, the raw ingredient in heroin; the nation’s income for farmers and traffickers totaled $2.3 billion last year. “If we are to catch bin Laden and wrap up his organization,” says Rep. Mark Kirk, an Illinois Republican who accompanied investigators on a trip to Afghanistan, “we must attack his new source of income–heroin.”