Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’

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Dialing for terror dollars: recommended reading

July 3, 2014
  • The disembowling of Iraq by Al Qaeda (ISIS) is being funded by Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia… more>>
  • ISIS’s annual report is more than a balance sheet or summary of operations.  It’s actually an appeal to potential investorsmore>>
  • The Taliban taxes poppies and blackmails businessmen.  But the dirty little secret behind most of the Taliban’s wealth lies with Arab sheikhs, say Afghan reporters… ground truth>>
  • An Arab interest group in New York opposed to NYPD tactics turns out to be funded by Qatar, the de facto sponsor of the global Muslim Brotherhood… more>>
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Paks blame Afghans for extortion in Peshawar

June 20, 2014

What unbelievable gall Pakistani intelligence is demonstrating by blaming “Afghan nationals” for ongoing extortion, kidnap-for-ransom, and murder-for-hire schemes in Peshawar.

It was Pakistani intelligence that created and funded the Taliban and other jihadist groups in the first place to give Pakistan “strategic depth” in their ruthless desire to gain any conceivable edge over India. It was Pakistan that funded radical curriculum and instruction at madrassas and Afghan orphanages.

Now that their efforts have begun turning their own cities into charnel houses, they’re distancing themselves from their own creation.

Pakistan didn’t seem to mind harboring Osama Bin Laden, because he didn’t attack Pakistan while he lived there. But Pakistan does mind when his buddies start making mischief on their own streets.

Message to Pakistan: you made your own bed, now lie in it.

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Terror funding & financial crime predictions for 2014

December 31, 2013
  1. As U.S. troops depart Afghanistan in 2014, the Taliban is poised for a banner year, financially speaking.  The Pakistani Taliban is laying the groundwork for a resurgence too, accumulating money from an extortion spree against businessmen (see here, here, here, here, and here) throughout 2013.
  2. The 28-page section of the 2002 report from Joint Congressional Inquiry into Sept. 11, 2001, implicating Saudi financing of the 9/11 hijackers could either be declassified or leaked in 2014.  Enough of a consensus is gathering that the section was redacted for diplomatic purposes, and should be disclosed so the American people know the truth (or at least more of the truth than is already known about Saudi Arabia’s role in financing global terrorism).
  3. “A major data destruction attack will happen,” and ransomware will be involved.  Websense explains, “Historically, most attackers have used a network breach to steal information for profit. In 2014, organizations will need to be concerned about nation-states and cyber-criminals using a breach to destroy data. Ransomware will play a part in this trend and move down market to small and medium sized organizations.”
  4. Narendra Modi could become elected prime minister of India next year.  Mr. Modi has spoken out against corruption, black money, hawala, and terrorism to a greater degree than the current ruling Congress party.  His victory would represent a significant threat to the established criminal and terrorist underworld in India and Kashmir that are being backed by Pakistan.
  5. New legislation including, at the federal level, renewed sanctions against Iran, and at the state level, sharia law bans (“American laws for American courts” initiatives), and anti-fraud legislation at the state level dealing with no-fault car insurance fraud and counterfeit airbags, may be enacted in 2014.

Some other thoughts come to us from the Council on Foreign Relations, which has published an interesting forecast of 2014 based on surveys of public officials and experts, including the possibility of major terrorist attacks in the U.S., in Kashmir, and by al-Shabaab against Somalia’s neighbors.

Incidentally, prosecutors in the case against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are pushing for a fall 2014 trial, although defense lawyers have argued that will be too soon.

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2014 will be bumper year for Taliban

December 1, 2013

One of the most striking failures of counterterror finance since 9/11 has been the international inability to de-fund the Taliban.  The Taliban has maintained robust, balanced revenue sources that haven’t changed too much from the type and amount of money they collected to propel them to power in the 1990s.  As ISAF troops depart, the Taliban is poised to profit even more, according to a new UN report reviewed by The Guardian:

…The Taliban remains a powerful and well-funded force, the report says, with the movement raising $155m in 2012 from illegal opium production.

Although the amount of protection money that insurgents receive from security companies employed to guard Nato supply convoys has fallen as foreign forces close bases, the report says 2014 is expected to be a bumper year as the alliance ships huge amounts of equipment out of the country.

It also warns that the Taliban is skimming profit off illegally mined gemstones, including rubies and emeralds. Afghanistan has an estimated $1tn worth of mineral reserves, which it is hoped will eventually help to pay for the country’s 352,000-strong security force.

The report says Kabul needs to do much more to prevent high-grade industrial explosives reaching the hands of Taliban bomb-makers, whose weapons are becoming “increasingly sophisticated and technically advanced” and now account for 80% of army and police casualties…

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Washington Post: lost battle against narcotics in Afghanistan one of “starkest failures” of Obama war strategy

November 18, 2013

On its news pages, not its opinion section, the Washington Post reports the U.S. has “lost its battle” against drugs in Afghanistan.  The collusion between Afghan elites and the poppy industry will only get worse as U.S. troops exit.  One Afghan official is quoted as saying, “the drug economy is fueling terrorism, destabilizing the region and the global village. It is vanishing the achievements of the past 10 years.”

The Taliban is one of the beneficiaries of this industry, from which traditional Islamic ushr taxation on poppy harvests and other drug profits will enable them to keep more fighters on the payroll, buy more weapons, and launch more attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and beyond.

As U.S. withdraws from Afghanistan, poppy trade it spent billions fighting still flourishes

By Ernesto Londoño, Published: November 3

The United States is withdrawing troops from Afghanistan having lost its battle against the country’s narcotics industry, marking one of the starkest failures of the 2009 strategy the Obama administration pursued in an effort to turn around the war.

Despite a U.S. investment of nearly $7 billion since 2002 to combat it, the country’s opium market is booming, propelled by steady demand and an insurgency that has assumed an increasingly hands-on role in the trade, according to law enforcement officials and counternarcotics experts. As the war economy contracts, opium poppies, which are processed into heroin, are poised to play an ever larger role in the country’s economy and politics, undercutting two key U.S. goals: fighting corruption and weakening the link between the insurgency and the drug trade.

The Afghan army opted this spring for the first time in several years not to provide security to eradication teams in key regions, forgoing a dangerous mission that has long embittered rural Afghans who depend on the crop for their livelihoods.

Experts say that, in the end, efforts over the past decade to rein in cultivation were stymied by entrenched insecurity in much of the country, poverty, and the ambivalence — and, at times, collusion — of the country’s ruling class.

With a presidential election just months away, political will for anti-drug initiatives is weak among members of the Afghan elite, many of whom have become increasingly dependent on the proceeds of drugs as foreign funding dries up, said Jean-Luc Lemahieu, who heads the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Afghanistan. “Money is less and less available within the licit economy,” he said. “The real danger is the weakened resistance to corruption and to involvement in a distorted political economy, which weakens your resistance to collusion with the enemy”…

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Afghan Taliban funds mayhem in Pakistan

October 28, 2013

The Pakistani Taliban, which seeks the overthrow of the government of Pakistan and a deeper implementation of sharia law there, is receiving financial assistance from the Afghan Taliban.  The irony is that the Afghan Taliban itself is funded by the Pakistan’s spy service, the ISI.

This story illustrates, once again, that attempting to use jihadists as a strategic asset always comes back to haunt those who thought they could control them.  Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and certain agencies of and politicians in Western governments repeatedly make this mistake.

This news on the Taliban boomerang came from the Associated Press earlier this month, and the AP even branded it a “Big Story,” but sadly seems to have received scant attention.  Thanks to Arye Leonid Glozman for sending over a link to it:

Afghan Taliban supporting Pakistani militants

By ISHTIAQ MAHSUD

— Oct. 7, 2013

WAZIRISTAN, Pakistan (AP) — The Afghan Taliban are financially supporting Pakistani militants at war with Islamabad and providing sanctuary for them in neighboring Afghanistan, the Pakistani Taliban’s spokesman said, highlighting the risk both groups pose to the Pakistani government.

The disclosure, which the spokesman made Saturday in an interview with a small group of reporters, is meaningful because Pakistan has long been accused of pursuing a policy of differentiating between the Afghan and Pakistan Taliban as so-called “good” and “bad” militants — even though Islamabad denies this.

Pakistan has waged war against the Pakistani Taliban, which seeks to replace the country’s democratic system with one based on Islamic law. But it has held off on targeting the Afghan Taliban, which has focused its attacks on U.S.-led troops in Afghanistan. Pakistan has historical ties with the Afghan Taliban, and many analysts believe Islamabad views the group as a useful ally in Afghanistan after foreign forces withdraw.

But the Taliban spokesman’s comments illustrate the dangerous nexus between the two groups. This link could become even more dangerous for Pakistan as the U.S. withdraws most of its combat forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. That could give the Afghan Taliban more space to operate inside Afghanistan, which could benefit Islamabad’s enemies in the Pakistani Taliban.

“The Afghan Taliban are our jihadi brothers,” Shahidullah Shahid said in an interview in Waziristan, the Taliban’s main tribal sanctuary in Pakistan along the Afghan border. “In the beginning, we were helping them, but now they are strong enough and they don’t need our help, but they are now supporting us financially.”

The Afghan Taliban are also providing sanctuary for a prominent Pakistani Taliban commander, Mullah Fazlullah, in eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar province, said Shahid. Fazlullah was the commander of the Taliban in Pakistan’s northwest Swat Valley but was driven into Afghanistan when the Pakistani army launched a big offensive there in 2009.

The army has also staged many offensives in Pakistan’s semiautonomous tribal region, the Taliban’s main sanctuary, but the militants have proven resilient and continue to carry out regular attacks.

The Taliban have financed many of these attacks through a combination of kidnappings, extortion and bank robberies. But Shahid’s comments indicate these sources of financing do not always provide the funds they need.

The government has more recently stepped up efforts to negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban, but those efforts do not appear to be making much progress…

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Terrorists lose out on heroin money

October 21, 2013

Time to salute the crew of the Toronto, which has once again carried out a major drug bust on the high seas.  Most likely, profits from the heroin sales would have inured to the benefit of the Taliban.

Thanks to El Grillo for sending this over from CTV News:

Heroin seized by Canadian warship linked to terrorist groups: commander

A commander on board a Canadian warship that seized more than 180 kilograms of heroin says the drug came from suppliers in the Middle East and is linked to terrorist groups.

HMCS Toronto Cmdr. Matthew Bowen said the drugs were destined for recipients in Africa, and would have funded “extremist elements.”

He said the drugs likely have ties to terrorist organizations with connections to Afghanistan.

“We have information that leads us to believe (the heroin) is definitely linked to terrorist organizations,” Bowen told CTV News on Sunday.

The massive drug bust took place approximately 800 kilometres east of the Horn of Africa. Crew members of the HMCS Toronto boarded a suspected smuggling ship and seized 154 bags of heroin.

Bowen said the operation went “smoothly.”

“Once (the smuggling ships) are confronted with a very large helicopter, a significant and well-armed boarding party that clearly knows their tactics, knows how to look after security with again, a very large warship in the background, they don’t tend to give us any trouble.”

The 258-crew frigate, which was on patrol in the Arabian Sea, is part of a multinational counter-terrorism effort.

Bowen said his crew has achieved its goal and they will not be pursuing the “middle men” involved in the drug operation.

“Once we have the drugs in our possession and we dispose of them, we’ve achieved the goal of what we want to do, which is to deny terrorist organizations the funding that comes from being involved in these kinds of smuggling operations,” he said…

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