There is insufficient publicly available evidence to verify whether the CIA supported the Taliban's heroin smuggling efforts in the 1980s.
During the 1980s, the CIA's secret war against Afghanistan's Soviet occupation helped transform the Afghani-Pakistani borderlands into a launchpad for the global heroin trade, The Guardian reports. In the tribal area, the U.S. state department said in 1986 that there was no police force, no courts, no taxation, and no weapon was illegal. Hashish and opium were often on display. During this period, the process of irregular mobilization to fight the Soviet occupation was long underway. Instead of forming its alliance of resistance leaders, the CIA had relied on Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) and its Afghan clients, who soon became key players in the burgeoning cross-border opium traffic.
Afghanistan's opium production grew from about 100 tonnes annually in the 1970s to 2,000 tonnes by 1991. In 1979 and 1980, a network of heroin laboratories opened along the Afghan-Pakistan frontier. Later that region soon became the world's largest heroin producer. By 1984, it supplied a staggering 60 percent of the U.S. market and 80 percent of the European. Inside Pakistan, the number of heroin addicts surged from near zero in 1979 to 5,000 in 1980, and 1.3 million by 1985.
Since the traditional sources of terrorist financing are restricted, the militant groups frequently rely on counterfeit cigarette production and smuggling, the intelligence sources say. However, there is no direct evidence of whether the CIA supported the Taliban in their heroin smuggling efforts.