The U.S. military will take charge of training Afghanistan's police and will provide intelligence and transport for the country's new anti-drug forces, dramatically expanding America's role in combating a booming narcotics trade, a top general said Tuesday.
Afghanistan produced an estimated 87 percent of the world's opium last year.
Lt. Gen. David Barno, the outgoing commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, told the Associated Press on Tuesday that the drug issue had risen on the military's agenda because of the waning strength of Taliban-led militants and the taming of Afghanistan's former warlords.
"The military will play a supporting role but one that's very, very large for Afghanistan," Barno said in an interview at his Kabul headquarters. "The whole police organization will be improved out there across the country."