Taliban Involvement in Opium Trade

"The Taliban’s principal and most lucrative source of income in Afghanistan is its control of the opium trade. The Taliban have long profited off of the ten percent ushr tax levied on opium farmers, an additional tax on the traffickers, and a per-kilogram transit tariff charged to the truckers who transport the product.152 In recent years, however, they have been 'taking a page from the warlords’ playbook,' and regional and local Taliban commanders have been demanding 'protection money from the drug traffickers who smuggle goods through their territory.'153 A 2007 analysis by the Jamestown Foundation described 'arrangements whereby drug traffickers provide money, vehicles and subsistence to Taliban units in return for protection.'154 In addition, at even higher Taliban command levels, 'senior leadership in Quetta are paid regular installments from narcotics kingpins as a general fee for operating in Taliban controlled areas.'155 Through these various forms of taxation and extortion, the Taliban have been estimated to earn nearly $300 million a year from the opium trade.156"


"Warlord, Inc. Extortion and Corruption Along the U.S. Supply Chain in Afghanistan," Report of the Majority Staff, Rep. John F. Tierney, Chair, Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives (Washington, DC: June 2010), p. 39.