Dangers Up Ahead

How druglords and insurgents are making the war in Afghanistan deadlier than ever

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For now, the U.S. is focusing its energy on trying to stop the big drug traffickers. A Western counternarcotics specialist based in Kabul says he expects to see high-profile arrests in the coming months, in what will be the opening salvo against the drug trade's "command and control." Helmand's beleaguered police will get some relief when approximately 3,300 British troops take over for the much smaller U.S. contingent in Lashkar Gah. The reinforcements can't arrive soon enough. After the fighting on the way to Sangin subsided, about 50 policemen took up posts above a road south of town--the spot from which they were ambushed days earlier. They were exhausted and nearly out of ammunition. Their commander was worried that the Taliban might try to exploit his men's fragile state. "They could be right below us," he said, peering into the surrounding poppy fields and waiting for the next attack.

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