West Will Hit the Taliban Opium Trade; as Tony Blair Vows to Destroy the Poppy Fields Which Fund Terrorists, a Young Girl Prays

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Byline: JONATHAN OLIVER

TONY BLAIR is targeting the opium fields of Afghanistan to stop the Taliban flooding Britain and the West with heroin to finance more terrorist atrocities.

Intelligence received by Downing Street has revealed that the Taliban have lifted a ban on the growing of the poppy and told farmers to cultivate opium for export to the West.

And Osama Bin Laden, the fugitive terrorist suspected of masterminding the World Trade Centre attack, is believed to have massed an enormous personal stockpile of the drug to help fund his campaign of terror.

Defence sources indicated a campaign against the heroin menace would mean military strikes against producers, supply lines and storehouses.The Prime Minister's official spokesman indicated that the opium crop was a legitimate target in the West's bid to cut off terrorists' finances.

He said: 'Unless the drugs ban is renewed, that becomes part of the problem.The Taliban are clear about what our position is. There are reports that the Taliban have told farmers they are free to start planting poppy seeds if there are any hostilities.' According to Mr Blair's spokesman, 3,000 tons of opium - with a Western street value of [pound]60 billion - is being held in Afghanistan and a significant proportion of it by Bin Laden and his followers.

'He holds huge stockpiles himself,' said the spokesman.

Intelligence experts have already monitored Bin Laden arguing with Taliban leader Sheik Omar that the opium cultivation ban should be lifted in order to raise cash for attacks and plague the West with narcotics. …