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IED financier named as casualties fall

January 30, 2012

Earlier this month, a U.N. committee added Ahmad Zia Agha to its list of sanctioned terrorists.  The committee’s summary of the listing included these details about Agha’s participation in the financial pipeline behind the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) being used against coalition forces.

Ahmad Zia Agha is a senior Taliban leader with military and financial responsibilities. In 2010, Ahmad Zia Agha was the leader of the Taliban’s military shura (council), which directed Taliban military operations in western Afghanistan. In 2009, Ahmad Zia Agha served as a Taliban finance officer and distributed money to Taliban commanders. As part of his financial responsibilities, Ahmad Zia Agha transferred tens of thousands of dollars to Taliban shadow provincial governors; the Taliban’s shura treasurer also entrusted Ahmad Zia Agha with hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund improvised explosive device (IED) operations. In 2008, Ahmad Zia Agha was involved in distributing funds to Taliban commanders in Afghanistan and transferred money to individuals associated with the Taliban outside the country. He has also facilitated communications for a Taliban military leader.

Exposing the funding sources behind the IED ring is a helpful; however, the greatest factors leading to the decline of IED-related casualties are adaptive American military tactics, consistent counter-IED training within the military, and American ingenuity in the form of IED-jamming technologies.

IED casualties in Afghanistan spiked in 2010

Roadside bomb deaths on the decline

The decline in deadly IEDs in Afghanistan resembles the successful counter-IED measures by U.S. forces in Iraq prior to the American withdrawal. Unfortunately, the Taliban has shown far greater financial resilience over time than has Al Qaeda, which suggests the Afghan IED ring could remain solvent.

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