Posts Tagged ‘IED’

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Pakistani money funds terrorist bonuses

January 24, 2013

Improvised explosive attacks on U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan earn the jihadists between $100 to $1,000 apiece, money which originates from Pakistan’s ISI service and other sources, according to a recent Time magazine report entitled “Afghanistan’s IED Complex: Inside the Taliban Bombmaking Industry.”  The whole article is here (h/t Sal Imburgia); a couple key excerpts follow:

“The enemy has ISI money, narcotics money, and other sources,” says Sediq Sediqqi, the spokesperson for the Afghan Ministry of Interior, referring to Pakistan’s intelligence service. “We need to be able to counter their investments”…

Locals in Panjwai claim the Taliban have also turned to subcontracting, so far a trademark of the coalition side of the war. The insurgents supply the explosives, they say, but unemployed youth plant them for cash. If they blow up an Afghan police vehicle, they get anything between 10,000 and 20,000 Pakistani rupees ($100-$200). If they blow up a coalition vehicle, the reward is as high as 100,000 Pakistani rupees. The claim is difficult to prove. But there does exist an internal Taliban bonus structure for operatives carrying out IEDs successfully. Mullah Kalam said he has gotten up to 20,000 PKR for blowing up U.S. vehicles, and 10,000 PKR for Afghan police vehicles. “We definitely have a bonus, a sweetener,” Kalam says.

The ability to pay extra to successful attackers is different from the method used by Al Qaeda in Iraq, which employed a flat wage structure according to a recent study (h/t Paul Gill). Incentive pay in Afghanistan suggests that the Taliban either has extra funds to provide bonuses, or that they want to reward the most ardent fighters and are prepared to expend their money accordingly.  The comment by the Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman supports the former.

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Iraq’s jihadists short on bombs, money

June 3, 2012

The commander of the Iraqi infantry reports that Al Qaeda in Iraq is broke and busted.  This is consistent with the trend of American successes in the wake of the Iraq surge in draining the financial capacity and bomb-making ability of AQI.

This does not mean, however, that there is no fundamentalist Islamic threat in Iraq—there are plenty of Shia militias and non-AQI Sunni radicals afoot in that country today.  But it does suggest that Iraq’s security forces are strong enough to at least keep Al Qaeda crippled.  From UPI last week:

BAGHDAD, May 25 — A high ranking Iraqi military officer says al-Qaida in Iraq is facing financial and logistic difficulties in the country.

Commander of the Iraqi army’s ground forces, Lt. Gen. Ali Ghaidan, told al-Shorfa newspaper Friday that al-Qaida militants in Iraq were losing ground; stressing recent attacks had proven the terror militants’ inability to access explosives and finance grand scale attacks.

“The quantity of explosives in each car bomb or locally made improvised explosive device has dropped by half in the last two months,” Ghaidan said. “Investigations conducted by the Iraqi forces have confirmed that there is a severe shortage in explosives and money needed to finance terrorist operations.”

Ghaidan attributed this “to the success of Iraqi security forces in discovering dozens of weapons caches this year and to tighter control along the borders with neighboring countries”.

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Another player in the IED money trail

March 8, 2012

More on the money behind the scourge of the IED.  From Radio Free Europe on Mar. 2:

The U.S. government has slapped sanctions on an Afghan national it says has helped manufacture improvised explosive devices for the Taliban.

A statement from the U.S. Treasury said Abdul Samad Achekzai “was responsible for and tasked with IED component procurement and storage, detonator construction, and IED training in support of Taliban fighters in western and southern Afghanistan.”

Adam Szubin, the director of the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, called Achekzai “a key official in the Taliban’s IED supply network” and said he was “responsible for untold death and suffering.”

The sanctions freeze all of Achekzai’s U.S. assets and forbids Americans from doing business with him.

The Treasury statement said Achekzai currently lived in Pakistan’s Balochistan Province.

Isn’t it interesting that Achekzai can live in Pakistan without being arrested for his work with the Taliban to finance the bombing of American and NATO forces?  It’s kind of like Pakistan harboring Bin Laden.

Also, since Pakistan has been blacklisted by FATF for failing to criminalize terrorist financing, Mr. Acheckzai is free to keep is assets in any of Pakistan’s several sharia banks without fear of freezes, fines, or forfeitures of his money.  This sanction by the U.S. Treasury is informative, but unfortunately may have zero genuine impact on Acheckzai’s IED checkbook.

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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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2011: Salute the troops

January 8, 2012

Apart from hijacked aircraft, the terrorist weapon that has caused the highest body count against Americans since 9/11 has been the improvised explosive device (IED) used against military and contractor personnel serving overseas.

Roadside bombs probably caused two-thirds of combat deaths in Iraq during the eight-year conflict.

But IED attacks were down in 2011 compared to 2010, and 2010 was better than 2009.

The Iraq surge and IED-jamming technologies began a reversal of IED casualties several years ago.  During the final year of direct U.S. military involvement in Iraq, the IED numbers fell even lower thanks in part to aggressive infantry operations often led by U.S. and Iraqi forces working together.  The relevance of this story to terrorist financing is that U.S.-Iraqi cooperation and military intelligence contributed to the unraveling of the cell-structured financial network behind the insurgent plots.

Often operating in a cells with a bomb maker, an emplacer, a leader, and the money man behind the attack, U.S. and Iraqi forces were able to identify and detain many cell members throughout the year.  The detention of money men behind Al Qaeda in Iraq and other insurgent groups slowed and impeded the ability of the cells to buy bomb parts and emplace more IEDs.

As usual, U.S. civilian bureaucrats have tried to snatch credit for the military’s success in Iraq; for example, the Department of Justice made a last minute indictment against Malaysian and Iranian businessmen who conspired to ship IED components into Iraq.  That’s an important legal case, but it should by no means distract from the main effort and sacrifice which was borne by U.S. troops.

Unfortunately, the insurgents will continue using IEDs against the legitimate government of Iraq in an effort to destabilize and discredit it.  But U.S. forces made remarkable progress against the weapon before departing in 2011, and we should acknowledge that success.