In some of the strongest evidence to date linking the Taliban with the drug trade, 11 tons of processed opium for heroin production, worth tens of millions of dollars, was discovered by NATO troops when they stormed the Taliban-controlled town of Musa Qala in southern Afghanistan.
Investigative reporter and author Stephen Grey was the only journalist who accompanied the thousands of Afghan, British and American forces as they took the strategic town last week.
Musa Qala was a key stronghold for the Taliban in Afghanistan and has been known to be a major crossroads for the opium trade.
NATO troops discovered two sites of opium production that were operating with the blessing of the Taliban government. The troops burned the processed opium last week.
British troops abandoned Musa Qala in October of 2006 after losing seven lives defending a base in the town from waves of Taliban attacks. The Taliban took it over in February of that year. It became one of the few major places in Afghanistan where the Taliban could operate in the open, trying to set up their own local government and courts.
U.S. commanders openly criticized the British-backed handover of Musa Qala. The recapture of the town heals an open wound that undermined claims by NATO that the Taliban were being defeated militarily.
Stephen Grey is the author of "Ghost Plane: The True Story of the CIA's Rendition and Torture Program" (St Martin's Press). He is an award-winning investigative reporter who has contributed to the New York Times, BBC, PBS and ABC News among others.