If one has to run a terrorist outfit in Afghanistan the primary source of income would be earned from the sale of drugs. The Taliban and the al Qaeda earned their bread and butter for long from the sale of drugs.
Joining the list of drug dependant terror outfits today is the ISIS and although they have not they have not completely established themselves in Afghanistan they still managed to earn 1 billion US dollars through drugs in the past one year.
Making use of the drug route
Unlike the Taliban or the al Qaeda the ISIS still does not have direct control over the drug market in Afghanistan. However they have been benefitted by the fact that at least 30 to 40 per cent of the drugs from Afghanistan pass through areas in Iraq which is controlled by the ISIS.
A report by the Russian Federal Drug Control Service say that heroin traffic goes through areas in Iraq which are controlled by the ISIS.
What the ISIS has managed to do is rope in several peddlers from Afghanistan and deal in drugs. The ISIS has assured the peddlers of a safe route through Iraq which has paid off. The peddlers rely on the ISIS for security while taking a large produce of both heroin and poppy through Iraq.
Interestingly the drugs that are peddled through Iraq make up for half the poppy and heroin consumption in the European nations.
The drug network would help in Afghanistan
The ISIS is not just looking for territory to control in Afghanistan. In its battle against the Taliban and the al Qaeda, it would look to take over the drug market as well. However there would be no teething hurry for the ISIS to get into a drug territory war with the Taliban.
The ISIS has enough and more through the oil wells it controls. Moreover the drugs routed through Iraq are funding the ISIS an additional 1 billion dollars a year.
Why is ISIS investing in drug trade
The investment into the drug trade is a clear indication that the ISIS is looking to expand territory. When it began its battle in Iraq it had taken control over several oil wells and relied on it for funding. The ISIS however realized that while these oil wells would ensure that they are self sufficient in Iraq and Syria, it would not be enough for them to expand into other parts of the world.
Several persons had raised doubts about how long the ISIS could last or how well they could expand if they relied just on oil.
The ISIS appears to have given this a thought and gradually began indulging in extortions, donations and theft to raise money. However they felt that the drug venture would pay them better and this in turn would help their expansion plans.
Moreover the ISIS is seriously looking at Afghanistan.
Looking at the various outfits that operate in Afghanistan it becomes clear that they have relied solely on the drug market to raise funds. It comes as no surprise that the ISIS too is going the Taliban way at least when it comes to raise money for their activities.