Afghanistan: Where does Taliban money come from

  • Dawood Azami
  • BBC World Service and Reality Check

Taliban Militants

Credit, Getty Images

Photo caption,

The Islamic fundamentalist group that took control of Afghanistan has a sophisticated financial network and a tax system that generates millions of dollars.

The Taliban is regarded as one of the richest insurgent groups in the world, and after two decades of war with the United States and allied forces, its militants now control Afghanistan.

But how does the Taliban finance itself? Where does the money used for weapons and ammunition come from?

The Size of Taliban Wealth

The Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, when it was driven from power by US-led forces. Despite the 20-year-long conflict, which claimed the lives of thousands of Taliban, the group’s territorial control and military strength have increased in recent years.

By mid-2021, the Taleban had 70,000 to 100,000 fighters. A decade before that, it had 30,000 militants, according to US data.