The Taliban’s cash flow and recruitment in southwestern Afghanistan is in trouble, according to Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Richard P. Mills.
This year’s low poppy harvest and government subsidies encouraging farmers to grow other crops have left the Taliban with “less than one-half of what they had last year in operating funds,” Mills said.
Coalition forces have also made efforts to disrupt the insurgents’ supply lines. Those factors “significantly deprive the insurgency of the money they so desperately need to operate,” he said. Without money, the Taliban is also having a hard time recruiting new members.
Mills gave the example of Marja, a farming town once dominated by the Taliban. Today, he said, insurgents are losing ground without poppy, and no longer have anything to offer residents.
Insurgents, desperate to retain their power, have turned to intimidating local citizens, Mills said. Troops have also noticed a decrease in the Taliban’s use of improvised explosive devices, which are becoming less sophisticated.
Mills adds that while recruitment for the Taliban is stalling, the Afghan army and police are progressing well with bringing in new forces and training them.
“I’m very proud of the progress we’ve made there, but we still have a ways to go,” he said.