An independent think tank has said that Islamic State (IS) could be benefiting from smuggled heroin passing from Afghanistan and into Western Europe. In March this year, Russia's law enforcement agency, the Federal Drug Control Service of the Russian Federation (FSKN) estimated that IS makes $1b (£664m) annually from the illicit trade.
As Russian and French airstrikes pummel the jihadist's oil fields in Syria and Iraq the extremists may want to use other income to mount terrorist operations against the west – like those that killed 130 civilians on the streets of Paris. A decision on whether Britain will bomb Syria from the air will be made on Wednesday when MP's will vote on the issue.
IS is also suffering from territorial loses in Northern Iraq and in the Homs area within Syria because of offences by other forces in the region. They are also active in Afghanistan where an estimated £4b worth of heroin consumed in the UK is produced .
IS affiliates now operate from Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq in the Middle East to Nigeria, Mali and Libya in Africa. FSKN estimates that European drug addicts could net the jihadists upwards of $50b (£33b) in November 2014.
"ISIS is a group which makes money out of other people's endeavour," Tom Keatinge, from the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) said to Daily Star. "If you look at the routes that opium take from Afghanistan, there is a lot of territory controlled by ISIS and therefore they will be making money out of it.
"It is not clear that they are currently able to control production, but you see more and more reports that they are active in Afghanistan. This obviously make ISIS profiting from this more likely and as other sources of income are squeezed, such as oil by strikes in Syria and Iraq, they will be looking for other sources of revenue."
The UN estimates that Afghanistan creates around 380 tonnes of heroin each year with 375 of those leaving the country. In 2014 Afghan opium cultivation hit a record high with fellow terrorists – the Taliban benefiting.
Viktor Ivanov, head of FSKN, has said according to the RT: "The transit of heroin from Afghanistan though the Islamic State-controlled territory is huge financial sponsorship. The area of poppy plantations is growing. This year, I think, we'll hear news about record-high poppy harvest and therefore the high yield of opium and heroin.
"So this problem should be raised not only in Moscow, but also in the UN in general, because this is a threat not only to our country, but also European security."