With drug labs and supply routes under growing pressure, the insurgents have less than half the cash they had a year ago, said Major General Richard Mills, who leads coalition troops in Helmand province, the key poppy-growing region for the Taliban.

“We have intelligence that indicates to us he has a financial crisis on his hands, he has a cash flow problem,” Maj Gen Mills said of the Taliban.

Since a mostly American force pushed back the Taliban in the Marjah area of Helmand in February and targeted the militants’ opium “treasury,” the insurgents had less money to resupply fighters, buy explosives and attract new recruits, he said Camp Leatherneck in Helmand province.