MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Terrorists operating in the Middle East and Central Asia earn up to $500 million annually from production and trafficking of illicit drugs, chief of the Russian General Staff's Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), Igor Sergun, said Thursday.
"Control over production and trafficking of illicit drugs is a major source of revenues [received by terrorists]. Islamists in the Middle East and Central Asia receive up to $500 million from these activities annually."
"Various types of non-governmental organizations and funds constitute secure channels of [terrorism] financing. For example, countries of the Arabian Peninsula host some 200 of such structures," Sergun told participants of the IV Moscow Conference on global security.
Earlier in the day, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that the international coalition had failed to eliminate terrorism and drug trafficking in Afghanistan after first launching military operations in the country in 2001.
The United States planned to withdraw all combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, but US President Barack Obama said last month that 9,800 US personnel would remain in the Central Asian country through the end of 2015.