Where do Taliban get their money from? 'Drugs and mysterious sponsors', say experts | World News - Hindustan Times
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Where do Taliban get their money from? 'Drugs and mysterious sponsors', say experts

By | Written by Poulomi Ghosh
Sep 02, 2021 08:21 AM IST

The Taliban have pledged to stop the cultivation of opium in Afghanistan. Analysts say that will be hard for many reasons.

As the Taliban are at the helm of affairs in Afghanistan and are all set to announce their new government, they are staring at a major financial crisis. But an analysis by Pakistan-based Frontier Post says that the Taliban raise more than one and a half-billion dollars a year through "trafficking of opium and heroin, taxes imposed on territories which were under Taliban control". In addition, there is money from Pakistan and Gulf countries, the analysis quoted by news agency ANI said.

Afghanistan's opium production will remain a conundrum for the western countries, analysts have said. (via REUTERS)
Afghanistan's opium production will remain a conundrum for the western countries, analysts have said. (via REUTERS)

In May, the UN reported that the Taliban’s annual income is between $300 million and $1.6 billion. They collected 160 million in taxes alone last year.

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The Taliban have time and again claimed that opium is no longer cultivated in Afghanistan. However, the United Nations record says poppy harvest in Afghanistan increased by 37 per cent last year, At least 263 thousand hectares area is sown with the crop and Afghanistan is the largest opium producer in the world, the Frontier Post said, adding that the drug business brings Taliban $400 million a year.

According to Politico, opium produced by Afghan farmers in 2020 accounts for more than 90 per cent of illicit global supply and 95 per cent of the UK market. "Despite the Western presence that ended this month, and despite dropping prices, latest estimates show production at record levels. Meanwhile, bigger profit margins on crystal meth are driving an Afghan boom in the cultivation of its origin ephedra plant too," a Politico report said.

But this will not remain the sole source of income for the Taliban as the Taliban are now exploring other sources of income to firm up the economy once they form the government. International agencies have figured out that the minerals of the country will be a major source of income for the Taliban as the country has copper, bauxite, iron ore, marble, scarce lithium and gold.

According to BBC News, the Taliban have private sponsors based in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar who donate $500 million a year.

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