Heroine and methamphetamine cultivation, production and trafficking continues to make up the bulk of Taliban’s revenue, a UN reports states.
The Eleventh Report of the United Nations Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team (MT) found that narcotics smuggling networks operate in Nangarhar, Badakhshan, Takhar and Kunduz provinces. The drugs have been smuggled to Iran, South Africa, Australia and many Central Asian states.
Methamphetamine is more profitable for the group and the Taliban maintains labs in the provinces of Farah and Nimruz.
The MT report said in the northeast of Afghanistan, Tajik criminal networks facilitate the movement of drugs by working with other insurgent groups in the area.
Jamaat Ansarullah Tajikistan, which reportedly has 70 members who are Tajik nationals, is active in narcotics trafficking across the border as part of the “northern route” for heroin, going into Central Asia via Badakhshan or Takhar province.
Stricter border controls in the Gorno-Badakhshan autonomous region of Tajikistan led to smaller portions of heroine being smuggled, around 5 to 10 kgs per consignment. Smuggling rings through Takhar and then Kunduz provinces, can take larger quantities of up to 100 kgs, straight to the Tajik capital of Dushanbe.
Via Nangarhar, the smuggling network reaches Pakistan with the acquiescence of security officials who regulate and profit from the smuggling of heroin, hashish and other goods.
Other less popular border crossings into Pakistan are those over the Spin Ghar mountains towards Tirah Valley and Khyber, Pakistan.
“Security officials reportedly allowed smuggling syndicates, known as tanzeems [‘regulation’], to operate without fear of arrest in return for a portion of the profit. Revenues were ultimately shared between security officials, heads of the tanzeems and the Taliban.”
This system was “a big source of revenue for the Taliban,” says the report, and the traffickers have to pay a tax in each district they cross, thus financially empowering each Taliban district commander.
Once the shipment crosses the Pakistan border, the tanzeem bosses take the equivalent of $6 per kilogram of heroin as profit. This is again redirected to the Taliban via security officials.
The Taliban’s spokesman have earlier denied the veracity of the MT report, however officials have asked the countries to stay alert to the dangers posed by the new and growing plant-based methamphetamine trade.