2014 will be bumper year for TalibanDecember 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…