Despite previous efforts by the US to reduce Afghan dependence on the opium trade, opium production and exports are soaring once again in Afghanistan.
This is bad news in and of itself, but the worst aspect is that it enriches Taliban Jihadis…
“The Taliban’s involvement with the narcotics trade has increased steadily over time,” Colin Clarke, a threat finance expert at the Rand Corp., said. He explained that experts have known about their involvement — which has been escalating — for more than a decade.
The United Nations reported in the summer that Helmand province, the top opium-producer in the country with at least 100,000 hectares of cultivated land, was also the main source of Taliban funding. Afghan officials told Reuters that most of the province’s farmers also pay a 10 percent tax to Taliban members.
“The Taliban launders money from its drug proceeds through myriad pipelines, including commodities, hawala money transfers, overpricing goods, real estate, shell businesses and the stock exchange,” he said.