The Taliban of today bears little resemblance to the original Taliban of the 1990s. Everyone from fighters loyal to various warlords to criminals involved in kidnapping and racketeering label themselves Taliban. This makes sorting out exactly who is who a difficult task. Nevertheless, one thing is abundantly clear: the active participation of the Taliban has aided and abetted opium cultivation on a scale unmatched by anything Afghanistan has seen in the past. Papaver soniferum, or poppy, is the lifeblood of the Taliban insurgency. Once the Taliban's financial arteries linked to the poppy are cut off, the insurgency will experience a major organizational blow, unless it morphs into an entirely new animal.
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Farhana Schmidt; From Islamic Warriors to Drug Lords: The Evolution of the Taliban Insurgency. Mediterranean Quarterly 1 June 2010; 21 (2): 61–77. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10474552-2010-005
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