As most people have already learned today, ISIL has been selling stolen oil to Turkey and the US to be able to finance its criminal activities. The US military chose to turn a blind eye to this illegal business, moreover, it has been actually protecting the oil infrastructure created by the Islamists. For long 14 months they have virtually done nothing to put an end to oil smuggling in Syria in Iraq, which allowed the Islamic State to get millions of dollars in profit. The White House said that they chose not to attack the illegal oil infrastructure “due to the high risks of environmental disaster.”
These revelations have been published a fed days ago by the Washington Times, which mocking Washington’s official statement that was given in response to the remarks made by the Russian Defense Ministry that allowing terrorists to sell oil freely is a direct violation of a number of UN Security Council resolutions.
In turn, Russia’s Air Forces have been inflicting some serious damage to ISIL in Syria over the last two months, effectively undermining the sources of its funding. This step has put Washington in a peculiar position, forcing to start destroying oil facilities and vehicles run by the Islamic State in Iraq in a desperate attempt to avoid the imminent PR disaster.
Under these conditions, while suffering huge human and financial losses due to the combined assault of Russia’s aircraft and Syrian regular troops, is now forced to turn its attention to other Muslim states, while seeking the possibility to get the cash flowing back in. That is why in November the leaders of ISIL began urgently planning the “active expansion” to Libya, that is rich in hydrocarbons, and Afghanistan.
Although Afghanistan and has no oil or gas reserves worth mentioning, that ISIL could use as a means to replenish its rapidly vanishing financial wealth, there’s a handful of way to get serious money through different criminal activities .
As you must know, Afghanistan occupies the position of an international leader in the production and export of opiates in the world. Last year Afghanistan has sold 85% of all opium and 77% of all heroin in the world. Cultivation of opium is one of the key areas of economic activity in Afghanistan. In 2014 opium harvest in Afghanistan reached the staggering 6.4 tons. The gross value of opium production amounts to 13% of the Afghan GDP. According to local officials, the terrorist groups that run this business receive an annual profit of 70 billion dollars, while the Taliban is getting a relatively small share of 2 billion dollars a year.
Today 2.5% of the adult population of this Central Asian state are drug addicts, which is one of the highest rates in the world. Still, it keeps getting worse, as the vast areas where opium poppy is has increased by the additional 7% this year, reaching 224 thousand hectares. The rate of opium production has also in just a year by 17%.
A massive leap in the production and smuggling of opiates was observed immediately after the US invasion of Afghanistan, which has already been noted in a number of countries around the globe. The Taliban is playing the crucial role in ensuring that production and export of opiates from Afghanistan goes uninterrupted.
The staggering profits that terrorists are getting from drug trade in Afghanistan is perceived by ISIL’s leaders as the perfect “opportunity” to establish a steady flow of funds landing in their pockets. Under these circumstances the bitter rivalry between the Taliban and the Islamic State is Afghanistan is perfectly understandable. ISIL is seeking ways to subdue other extremist groups to get as many militants in its ranks as it is possible. There is evidence that a group of ISIL militants has already established control over illegal drug trade in the Afghan province of Badakhshan.
It’s often the case that the one who has more armed men under his command controls this increadibly profitable business in Afghanistan. And ISIL has everything it takes to get the upper hand in the fight with the Taliban to get take over the opiates business in Afghanistan.
In this regard, it should be noted that the operation of the international coalition in the fight against ISIL has to do whatever it can to prevent this terrorist group from expanding its influence. The is an urgent need for the establishment of an appropriate coordinated effort of the international community to prevent the Islamic State from obtaining new sources of income in Afghanistan.