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Drugs funding Taliban’s 20-year war

Date: 24 August 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous


The Taliban has managed to return to Kabul and capture the country after years in wilderness, braving onslaught by US and NATO forces.



Taliban has shown its resilience against offensive and also demonstrated their military tactics using modern sophisticated weapons.



  • Taliban is a majorly rural organization, with its members joining the force with minimal training. Their resources are also stretched.

  • The most striking fact is their ability to overrun a national army which has been trained with high equipments worth $80 million.

  • The Taliban was in power for little more than 5 years. The country was already in shambles, leaving little money that can be used by Taliban.


Funding for Taliban

  • Estimates say that total annual revenue of Taliban ranges from $300 million to upwards of $1.5 billion.

  • The report also says that the group has been using its resources efficiently and not facing any cash crunches.

  • The majority of their income comes from drug trade. The Taliban grows poppy plants in the areas under their control and later sells drugs made from these raw materials.

  • In recent years, Taliban has increasingly started methamphetamine trade as these drugs have a huge domestic as well as international market. They require less raw materials and small labs.

  • The laboratories are located along the border with Pakistan. The smugglers have to pay tax to local Talibani commander before movement of consignment.

  • Afghanistan is the major drug supplier to neighboring countries, middle-east, Europe, South Asia, Africa and also North America.


Weapon supply

  • Pakistan has been diverting weapons and technology to Taliban via the Haqqani network. The group also receives help from Iran.

  • Many Gulf politicians and citizens donate funds to the Taliban. Weapons left behind by Afghan military and US is also under the control of Taliban.