Baby powder, minerals, and the Taliban
The Taliban receives an estimated $300 million USD in revenue per year from mineral sources (both direct control and taxes), according to NGO Global Witness. The revenue stream is second is size only to their narcotics trade. The mineral trade that includes resources such as talc and other standard industrial ingredients, however, is of special importance because it could be benefiting the central government. U.S. led efforts to curb corruption and improve government control of the sector has, with its accompanying hundreds of millions in development investments, accomplished little. The stalemate on this front contributes directly to the stalemate of the ongoing insurgency, where the Taliban is able to bankroll its efforts by taking advantage of weak control, corruption, and internal competitions.