The commander of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission and the US forces in Afghanistan Gen. John Nicholson says the attacks on Taliban financial engine will continue as heavy losses have been inflicted on the group and its associated in recent raids.
Speaking to reporters in Pentagon via video teleconference, Gen. Nicholson said operations under the new permissions have already begun, as Afghan and coalition forces struck the source of the Taliban’s finances: the narcotics trade.
“In just over three days’ worth of operations, the Afghan 215th Corps, their special forces commandos, their air force, in close cooperation with U.S. forces, removed between $7 million and $10 million of revenue from the Taliban’s pocketbook,” Gen. Nicholson said.
He also added “And the overall cost to the drug trafficking organizations approached $48 million. So these strikes were just the first step in attacking the Taliban’s financial engine, and they will continue.”
According to Gen. Nicholson the Taliban have evolved into a criminal or narco-insurgency. “They are fighting to defend their revenue streams,” he said.
“They have increasingly lost whatever ideological anchor they once had. They fight to preserve and expand their sources of revenue. This includes narcotics trafficking, illegal mining, taxing people throughout Afghanistan, kidnapping and murder for hire: all criminal endeavors,” he added.