The Taliban, the richest jihadist organization in the world, owes some of its recent financial success to Faizullah and Malik Noorzai, two brothers from Afghanistan who have both performed the hajj and who are each approximately 50 years old. The U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions against the duo on Sept. 29 for their roles as financiers for the Taliban. Malik, who according to Reuters is living in Pakistan, has already denied that he’s given money to anybody, but Faizullah is mum.
What’s interesting is the Noorzai brothers funding methods: Faizullah obtained over a hundred grand from (big surprise here) Arab donors from Gulf nations. He also collected “tens of thousands” through his Afghan-Pakistan border madrassa. Malik also received money from Gulf donors under the cover of fake investments and through a sizable hawala account.
Here’s the skinny from Treasury:
Hajji Faizullah Khan Noorzai (Faizullah)
Faizullah has served as a prominent Taliban financier with whom senior Taliban leaders invested funds. He has collected more than $100,000 for the Taliban from donors in the Gulf and in 2009 gave a portion of his own money to the Taliban.
Faizullah also financially supported a Taliban commander in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan and has provided funding to assist with training Taliban and al-Qa’ida fighters who were to conduct attacks against coalition and Afghan military forces.
In addition to his financial support, Faizullah has facilitated Taliban training and operations. As of mid-2009, Faizullah supplied weapons, ammunition, explosives, and medical equipment to Taliban fighters from southern Afghanistan. In mid-2008, Faizullah was responsible for housing Taliban suicide bombers and moving them from Pakistan into Afghanistan. Faizullah has also provided anti-aircraft missiles to the Taliban, helped move Taliban fighters around Helmand Province, Afghanistan, facilitated Taliban suicide bombing operations and has given radios and vehicles to Taliban members in Pakistan.
As of mid-2009, Faizullah operated a madrassa near the Afghanistan/Pakistan border, where tens of thousands of dollars were raised for the Taliban. Faizullah’s madrassa grounds were used to provide training to Taliban fighters in the construction and use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and as of late 2007, his madrassa was used to train al-Qa’ida fighters who were later sent to Kandahar Province.
Hajji Malik Noorzai (Malik)
Malik is a Pakistan-based businessman who, with his brother Faizullah, has invested millions of dollars in various businesses for the Taliban. In late 2008, Taliban representatives approached Malik as a businessman with whom to invest Taliban funds. Since at least 2005, Malik has personally contributed tens of thousands of dollars and distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Taliban, some of which was collected from donors in the Gulf region and Pakistan and some of which was Malik’s own money. Malik also handled a hawala account in Pakistan that received tens of thousands of dollars transferred from the Gulf every few months to support Taliban activities.
Malik has also facilitated Taliban activities in other ways. As of 2009, he had served for 16 years as the chief caretaker of a madrassa near the Afghanistan/Pakistan border that was used by the Taliban to indoctrinate and train recruits. Malik delivered funds that supported the madrassa, among other things.
Malik, along with his brother, has also played a role in storing vehicles to be used in Taliban suicide bombing operations and has helped move Taliban fighters around Helmand Province. As early as 2005, he owned a vehicle import business in Afghanistan that imported vehicles from Dubai and Japan. Malik has also imported auto parts and clothing from Dubai and Japan for his businesses, in which two Taliban commanders have invested. Additionally, in mid- 2010, Malik and his brother secured the release of hundreds of cargo containers, reportedly worth millions of dollars, which Pakistani authorities seized earlier that year because they believed the recipients had a connection to terrorism.
The United Nations Security Council has also sanctioned the Noorzai brothers, calling Faizullah a “prominent Taliban financier. As of mid-2009, supplied weapons, ammunition, explosives and medical equipment to Taliban fighters; and raised funds for the Taliban, and provided training to them, in the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region. Has previously organized and funded Taliban operations in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. As of 2010, travelled to and owned businesses in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Japan.”