The Taliban is now the world’s richest terrorist group, with an estimated $2 trillion fortune in stolen money, drug money, oil and other natural resources under their control.
It only took two weeks to wrest control of the militants Afghanistan After the withdrawal of US forces – this means that the Taliban are now sitting on vast swathes of untapped secret wealth.
Afghan provinces are filled with iron, copper, gold, coal and other deposits said to be worth about £2 trillion, according to the country’s Ministry of Mines.
And in 2010, an oil field of 1.8 billion barrels, valued at around £100 billion, was discovered.
The war-ravaged country is also believed to have one of the world’s largest deposits of lithium – an essential but rare element needed for batteries in the global boom in electric cars.
But most of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth remains in the ground after decades of bloodshed, which means that Taliban leaders can now tap into a massive fortune.
With the country now under their control, the Taliban can take advantage of this extraordinary wealth by selling lucrative contracts to other countries such as China.
Afghanistan is believed to be believed to be 2.2 billion tons of iron ore, valued at around £250 billion, and an estimated 2,700 kg of gold, worth £123 million.
There are an estimated 500 million barrels of natural gas under the war-torn country.
All this valuable and much needed material will be appreciated by the Taliban – if they find a way to get it off the ground.
The militants already earn an estimated £335 million a year from mining iron ore, marble, copper, gold and zinc, according to NATO figures, and also He collected huge sums from the global heroin tradeReal estate and charitable donations.
Reports in recent days allege that Taliban fighters are showing off banknotes left behind by troops and other organizations – along with stolen bragging. American weapons seized from the Afghan army.
Experts worry that the Taliban may control such a huge fortune, warning that “the world has a lot to worry about.”
If the Taliban are the same old Taliban, the world has a lot to worry about.
Professor Ashok Swain
“If the Taliban are the same old Taliban, the world has a lot to worry about,” Ashok Swain, professor of peace and conflict research at Uppsala University, told The Sun Online.
“The Taliban’s victory will not only be morale for other Islamic terrorist groups around the world, but it will also boost them with the help of weapons and drug money.”
Dr. Hans Jacob Schindler, senior director of the Countering Extremism Project, warned that the Taliban now had the ability to “take advantage of any economic activity in the country”.
“Since the Taliban have now controlled Afghanistan by military means, it will be their responsibility not only to rule by force but to rule,” said the former coordinator of the ISIS, al-Qaeda and Taliban monitoring team at the UN Security Council. Sun Online.
“It remains to be seen whether they show an interest in doing so or whether their income continues to be diverted primarily to fund their fighting machinery and the somewhat lavish lifestyles of their leaders.”
Meanwhile, Afghanistan remains the world’s largest producer of opium and seems certain to remain in the lead under the Taliban.
Some UN and US officials worry that Afghanistan’s slide into chaos will create the perfect conditions for opium production to flourish – which could be a massive boost to the Taliban’s power.
The Taliban, which ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, has long been involved in the country’s giant drug trade.
From extracting and smuggling opium and “taxing” drug labs to charging smugglers for shipments destined for Africa, Asia, Europe, Canada, Russia and the Middle East, Taliban fanatics have made millions from the trade.
“Drug production has increased dramatically in all areas controlled by the Taliban,” Dr. Schindler told The Sun Online.
“Since its inception, drug dealers have been funding the Taliban.
“Poppy cultivation was also an important recruitment tool as Taliban leaders kept Afghan poppy farmers in constant financial debts to the movement, requiring them to ‘repay’ their financial debts as fighters during the annual fighting seasons.”
UN officials claim that the militant group likely earned more than $400 million between 2018 and 2019 from the Afghan drug industry.
The US military estimates that the Taliban earn 60 percent of their annual income from trade.
Most of the poppy cultivation takes place in areas under Taliban rule and the militants operate a sophisticated financial network and tax system to pay for the insurgents’ operations, BBC reports.
It is believed that the Taliban’s grip on such a huge slice of the lucrative drug trade in Afghanistan will allow the terrorist group to prepare for its spectacular advance to power.
As the United States winds down its longest war, the Taliban has taken advantage of a stockpile of weapons and money left over from the troops.
shared shots Hindustan Times newspaper The militants appear to be showing off and counting piles of US dollars in another boost to the group’s growing fortune.
As a result of the rapid US withdrawal, the Afghan army collapsed and billions of pounds of equipment were handed over to the Taliban as they raided weapons caches.
The fighters are believed to have stolen up to £13 billion in abandoned weapons and vehicles.
Several US military-grade weapons after Washington delivered them as part of the £80 billion spent trying to support the Afghan armed forces.
The Taliban’s favorite, the AK-47, is now in circulation as the fighters are embracing US military-grade assault weapons.
But Joseph Parks, a security analyst for Asia at risky intelligence firm Verisk Maplecroft, cautioned that the Taliban’s chaotic leadership could be a problem.
The international community must approach the Taliban with open eyes and recognize the threat they and their terrorist partners are likely to continue to present.
Dr.. Hans Jacob Schindler
“The Taliban has seized power, but the transition from an insurgent group to a national government will not be easy at all,” he said. CNN.
“Functional management of the emerging metals sector is likely many years away.”
The challenge of exploiting resources in an unstable country and little mining infrastructure is daunting for most foreign investors.
“Taking advantage of this wealth could take years under ideal conditions,” said Dr. Schindler.
“Unfortunately, envisioning Afghanistan’s transformation into an economic power in the short to medium term is probably an unrealistic scenario.”
“Whether or not part of the Taliban’s income will be used to enable al-Qaeda and its affiliate groups to re-establish a new terrorist infrastructure in Afghanistan,” he added.
“The international community must approach the Taliban with open eyes and be aware of the threat they and their terrorist partners are likely to continue to present.”