People have been flocking to join ISIS. A file picture of an ISIS training camp
People have been flocking to join ISIS. A file picture of an ISIS training camp/Reuters Reuters

More evidence of ISIS drug links are coming to the fore. In the latest revelation, Russia's Federal Drug Control Service has claimed that the Islamic State is making fabulous" income by providing transit to half the supply of heroin originating from Afghanistan to Europe.

The FSKN head Viktor Ivanov told an official conference that the "large-scale transit of Afghan heroin is acting as a renewable financial base for the ISIS is now clear," reported RFERL. He said the militant group is making huge profits by providing half of the total "heroin supply to Europe via the strife torn Iraq and a few African countries."

NATO Presence Boosted Drugs

Ivanov alleged that the foreign military presence in Afghanistan under the U.S. forces led to the growth of "antigovernment armed groups" in that country who abet the trade and are making big profits. In October 2014, the Spanish intelligence alerted that the European cells of the Islamic State group and other extremist groups are the conduit of illegal drug trade and finance operations in Iraq and Syria. The Spanish agencies also said extremists in the country used knowledge of drug-smuggling routes to export arms and other contraband to Iraq and Syria from the European Union.

A report in "Newsweek" had quoted Haras Rafiq of the anti-radicalisation Think tank -- Quilliam Foundation. He said illegal trade was the "heritage" of Islamic State, which has its roots from Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Terrorist groups including Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and Al-Shabaab have been making funds from drug smuggling.

The drug transit was further established in May, when an Australian warship "H.M.A.S. Darwin" seized substantial quantity of drugs. It seized over 400 kilograms of heroin from a smuggling vessel off the coast of Somalia. The drugs were worth $132 million. The ship's commander, Terry Morrison, had said the haul helped in "removing a major source of funding for terrorist and criminal networks including Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and Al-Shabaab."

Link With Terror

Viktor Ivanov's remarks were made at the meeting of drug control chiefs of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, held in Moscow, the Tass reported. "The NATO military operation in Afghanistan led to a well-developed grouping of anti-governmental armed formations with a numerical strength of half a million gunmen", Ivanov said. He traced the link between drug trade and terrorism. The Russian official said the imbroglio is that the armed contingent is logically involved in highly profitable drug production and then they tie up with international militarised drug transit. Secondly, it is becoming an endless source for recruiting mercenaries in regional conflicts in Central Asia and the Middle East. "Without a crackdown on large-scale Afghan drug production pockets, the conflicts in these regions will never be settled," the Russian drug control chief noted.