Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN) has claimed that the Islamic State (IS) extremist group is obtaining a “fabulous” income by providing half of the supply of heroin from Afghanistan to Europe.
In comments widely reported in the Russian media on November 26, FSKN head Viktor Ivanov said that the “large-scale transit of Afghan heroin acts as a renewable financial base for the functioning of the Islamic State group, which obtains fabulous profits by providing half of the total heroin supply to Europe via destabilized Iraq and some African countries.”
Ivanov said that the foreign military presence in Afghanistan would lead to the growth of “antigovernment armed groups” in that country. The FSKN chief noted that the United States had “already announced that reducing the number of troops [in Afghanistan] has been delayed until 2015.”
“It is clear that without the elimination of large-scale drug production in Afghanistan, there is no point in talking about resolving conflicts in these countries,” Ivanov said.
In October, Spanish intelligence said that European cells of the Islamic State group and other extremist groups were using ties to the illegal drug trade to finance operations in Iraq and Syria.
Spanish intelligence sources said that extremists in the country also used knowledge of drug-smuggling routes to export arms and other contraband to Iraq and Syria from the European Union, "Newsweek" reported.
"Newsweek" cited Haras Rafiq of the antiradicalization think tank the Quilliam Foundation who said that illegal trade was in the “heritage” of Islamic State, which took over from Al-Qaeda in Iraq.
Terrorist groups including Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and Al-Shabaab are known to have obtained funds from drug smuggling.
In May, the Australian warship "H.M.A.S. Darwin" seized over 400 kilograms of heroin from a smuggling vessel off the coast of Somalia. The drugs had an estimated street value of $132 million.The ship’s commander, Terry Morrison, said the haul “removed a major source of funding for terrorist and criminal networks including Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and Al-Shabaab."
-- Joanna Paraszczuk