Canada troops battle 3m high Afghan marijuana plants

Thickets three metres (10ft) high readily absorb heat, making them hard to penetrate with thermal devices, said Gen Rick Hillier in a speech in Ottawa.

"You really have to be careful the Taleban don't dodge in and out of those marijuana forests," he added.

Burning them is not an option as they are laden with water, the general said.

"We tried burning [the marijuana forests] with white phosphorous - it didn't work," said Gen Hillier.

"We tried burning them with diesel - it didn't work. The plants are so full of water right now... that we simply couldn't burn them."

He noted that a couple of brown plants on the edges of some of the forests had caught fire but this had posed yet another problem.

"A section of soldiers that was downwind from that had some ill effects and decided that was probably not the right course of action," he said, speaking dryly, according to Reuters.

One soldier had told him:

"Sir, three years ago before I joined the army, I never thought I'd say 'That damn marijuana'."

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