The super rich Taliban! How much money does it make and what are its sources of earning?

How rich is the Taliban
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The US forces overthrew the Taliban in late 2001 ending their 5-year rule in Afghanistan. The insurgent group now controls Afghanistan. So, how rich is the Taliban? Well, you will be shocked to know that the Taliban is one of the world’s richest insurgent groups.

In 2016, Forbes listed Taliban as the 5th richest terrorist organisation.

How many fighters does the Taliban have?

-The group continues to grow in strength.

-According to US, it has around 70,000 to 100,000 fighters.

How much money does Taliban make?

-The Taliban is reportedly operating a financial network.

-As per the United Nations (UN), Taliban’s estimated annual income in 2011 stood at $400 million.

-It rose to $1.5 billion per year in 2018.

-Its annual earnings increased to $1.6 billion in 2020.

What are the major earning sources of Taliban?


-Opium poppy is a medicinal plant.

-But can be processed chemically to turn it into heroin.

-Afghanistan is the largest producer of opium in the world.

-Its annual export value is $1.5 billion-$3 billion.

-The insurgent group has a taxation system in place.

How rich is the Taliban
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-It is involved in illegal drug trafficking.

-It collects taxes from opium farmers.

-The group also collects taxes from laboratories making heroin and drug smugglers.

-It makes $100m-$400m per year from illegal drug trade.

-60% of Taliban’s annual income reportedly comes from this source.

Donations from Pakistan and other nations

-Nations including Pakistan, Iran and Russia allegedly provide financial aid to the group.

-Large contribution comes from private citizens from Pakistan and certain Gulf nations.

How rich is the Taliban
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-These donations reportedly amount to $500 million per year.

-In 2008, foreign funding sources contributed to $106 million, according to a classified US intelligence report.

Control over trade routes

-In 2018, Taliban asked Afghanistani traders to pay taxes on goods when passing through the areas they control.

-Currently, the group controls all major trade routes & borders in Afghanistan.

-It generates revenue from imports and exports.

How rich is the Taliban
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-It has also collected tax from several West-financed development & infrastructure projects including clinics, schools and roads.

-They even billed electricity consumers and made over $2 million a year, BBC reported.

Mines and minerals

-Afghanistan’s mining industry generates around $1 billion per year.

-The country is sitting on lithium treasure trove!

-Much of the extraction is illegal and most of it is done on a small scale.

How rich is the Taliban
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-The Taliban extorted money from mining activities after seizing control of the mining sites.

-A report by UN Analytical Support & Sanctions Monitoring Team says Taliban earned $464 million from illegal mining activities in 2020.

Taliban runs a sophisticated financial network. It earns hundreds of millions of dollars from foreign donations, kidnappings, illegal drug trade and extortion!

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