Drug Earnings and Profits for the Taliban

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that the Taliban earns up to $200 Million a year from the trafficking of illegal drugs from Afghanistan.

Previously, the Taliban was only collecting a 10 percent tax on opium farmers and traffickers. However, in 2012 and 2013, the Taliban has increased its involvement in the drug trade in order to increase its revenue, according to a report by Newsweek.

The Taliban has increased protection for poppy farmers from government eradication efforts. In 2012, up  to 380,000 acres of poppies was planted across Afghanistan. According to the UNODC, 6 percent of the poppies were destroyed by government officials.

The governing body of the Taliban established a policy to split the revenues of the drug trade. According to leaders, 70 percent of the profits from drugs are mean to be used for food, weapons and medical care for the insurgency, with the remaining 30 percent going out into the field to fighters.

It has also been reported that the Taliban is partnering with its former enemies the Northern Alliance in order to maximize profits in the drug trade.

(Additional heroin statistics.)

Source:  Ron Moreau, “The Taliban’s Life of Luxury,” Newsweek, June 12, 2013.