ISIS is known for wreaking havoc, their most instance of terror being the attacks in Paris that claimed the lives of 136 people. It takes a lot of money for ISIS to operate and carry out such atrocities. The main source of income for the terrorist group is oil revenues, however, American, French and Russian airstrikes on oil fields, tankers and reserves has made a significant cut to those endeavors. With their oil supply being pounded even more since the Paris attacks, intelligence agencies speculate that ISIS will delve into the heroin trade even further.
As it stands, Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN) claims that ISIS is making $1 billion (£660m) off of drug trafficking already. ISIS is mostly making bank by taxing heroin traffickers moving dope from Afghanistan through their territory in Iraq and Northern Africa into Europe. This accounts for nearly half of the heroin on the streets of Europe. Royal United Services Institute terror finance expert Tom Keatinge told the Daily Star:
“ISIS is a group which makes money out of other people’s endeavour. If you look at the routes that opium take from Afghanistan, there is a lot of territory contolled by ISIS and therefore they will be making money out of it.
“It is not clear that they are currently able to control production, but you see more and more reports that they are active in Afghanistan.
“This obviously make ISIS profiting from this more likely and as other sources of income are squeezed, such as oil by strikes in Syria and Iraq, they will be looking for other sources of revenue.”
It is being reported that ISIS has infiltrated Afghanistan to be more hands-on with production, as well as central Asian states on Russia’s border like Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan to secure new trafficking routes. It is estimated that ISIS will make upwards of £33 billion (roughly $50 billion) a year off of heroin if their expansion continues.