The Golden Crescent and the Golden Triangle are the centers of heroin production. The Golden Crescent is a mountainous area of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the Golden Triangle is a mountainous are of Burma (Myanmar), Thailand and Laos.
Map 1 Golden Crescent and Golden Triangle
Between 70% and 90% of the world heroin production takes places in Afghanistan (see Huffington Post). The Islamist terrorists Taliban play a leading role in the heroin trade. The Taliban are providing safety for heroin producers, and they bribe public servants who turn a blind eye, while terrorizing the ones who create problems. The dominant tribe of the Taliban are the Pashtuns, who are also the dominant force of Pakistan. At the following map you can see which areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan are dominated by the Pashtuns.
Map 2 Pashtuns
The Taliban are the 5th richest terrorist organization in the world, and their annual revenues are estimated somewhere between 500 million and 2 billion dollars. That’s a huge amount for a terrorist group. North Korea, a communist country with 25 million inhabitants, has a GDP, an annual income let’s say, of 40 billion dollars. I have to say that not all Pashtuns are Taliban, neither all Taliban are Pashtuns.
As you can read in the Reuters article, even though the Taliban have huge revenues from drug trafficking, drug trafficking is probably not their main source of revenue, since they receive very generous donations from other countries i.e. the Arabs of the Persian Gulf and Pakistan, and they are involved in all kinds of illegal activities. Therefore if their annual revenue is 2 billion dollars, as some analysts suggest, they do not all come from drug trade.
If Afghanistan is the mother of heroin, Colombia is the mother of cocaine. In Colombia most of the drug trafficking is carried out by the communist terrorist organization FARC, which fights the pro-American Colombian government, and it is supported by the communist governments of Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia and Nicaragua, and by the Islamic government of Iran. The Shiite terrorist organization Hezbollah is also very active in the drug trade of Latin America. The FARC communist terrorists mainly operate in the jungles of the Amazon river (south-eastern Columbia) and at the mountains of the Andes (north-western Columbia).
Argentina and Brazil have not recognized FARC as a terrorist organization, which probably means something about their foreign policies of the past. See “Drug Trafficking & Terrorism in Latin America”.
I must also say that the Taliban, with the help of Pakistan and the Arabs of the Persian Gulf, managed to take control of most of Afghanistan in 1996, and they established the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, which was only recognized be three countries i.e. Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The Taliban government was overturned by the Americans in 2001 with the Afghanistan war.
Today things are more complicated, because the Americans and the Indians support the opponents of Taliban in Afghanistan, but the Russians, who supported the Americans against the Taliban in the past, see the Taliban in a more favorable way. The Russians are not happy to see their traditional ally India becoming a friend of the United States, but neither can Russia support India against China, because Russia and China are allies at the moment. That’s what happened to another traditional ally of Russia, Vietnam, who had to turn to the Americans for protection against China.
The Russians say that they have to cooperate with the Taliban, in order to prevent the rise of ISIS in Afghanistan. Even though it is true that ISIS has appeared in Afghanistan, it is more reasonable to assume that the changing Russian attitude towards the Taliban has more to do with the improvement in the Russian-Pakistan relations.
At the following map you can see the ethnic groups of Afghanistan. With blue you can see the Pashtuns, with red in the south the Balloch, with yellow in the north the Tajiks.
Map Ethnic Groups of Afghanistan
“Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”
“How the Taliban Gets Its Cash”, November 2015
“Who is funding the Afghan Taliban? You don’t want to know”, August 2009
“Russia Pulls Back From Cooperating With U.S. on Afghanistan”, Φεβρουάριος 2016
“Russian ambassador denies Moscow supporting Taliban”, April 2016
“The 10 Richest Terrorist Organization”