Taliban facing financial crisis, U.S. general claims

Disruption in lucrative opium trade has cut insurgents’ cash flow in half

U.S. intelligence reports indicate that growing pressure on drug labs and supply routes have cut the Taliban’s cash flow to half of what it was one year ago. Major General Richard Mills said insurgents have had less money to re-supply fighters, buy explosives and attract new recruits since a mostly American force pushed back the Taliban in the Marjah area of Helmand in February and targeted the militants’ opium treasury. The general said a blight on the poppy harvest this year, along with efforts by local Afghan authorities to offer farmers alternative crops, has also undermined the Taliban’s opium profits. He said the Afghan army and police soon could be ready to take over security duties in some districts from foreign troops, with U.S. president Barack Obama promising to begin pulling out some forces by July 2011.


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