Why not? As a Talib I quoted in Islam Unveiled put it: “Who cares if heroin is wreaking havoc in the West? It doesn’t matter; they aren’t Muslims.” From the Washington Times, :
Osama bin Laden is using cash from the Afghanistan heroin market to finance his life on the run, paying bodyguards and buying off warlords in Pakistan, says a congressman who has visited the region.
Rep. Mark Steven Kirk, Illinois Republican, said in an interview that bin Laden’s al Qaeda terror organization is reaping $28 million a year in illicit heroin sales. Some of the money is funding bin Laden’s fugitive status as he pops back and forth between Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal areas and Afghanistan’s eastern mountain regions.
Mr. Kirk, who won passage of legislation in November to overhaul the U.S. terrorist rewards program, said post-September 11 initiatives have cut off the terror leader’s traditional sources of money “” a family fortune and Islamic charities.
“We now know al Qaeda’s dominant source of funding is the illegal sale of narcotics,” said Mr. Kirk, a member of the House Appropriations foreign operations subcommittee.
The congressman made an extensive fact-finding trip to Afghanistan last January, where he met with military-intelligence officials.
Mr. Kirk said that, while bin Laden has lots of allies in the Waziristan tribal lands east of Kabul, Afghanistan, he does not speak the native tongues and cannot trust everyone as his entourage moves from place to place.
“He is a foreigner in a strange land,” Mr. Kirk said. “He must have money to buy off the local warlords. Operating a clandestine, heavily armed organization takes money and running narcotics is the natural way.”
A Pentagon adviser on drug policy said Mr. Kirk is “on target.”
“We know of individuals in Afghanistan who continue to fund al Qaeda with drug proceeds,” the Pentagon adviser said.