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Old 08-17-2009, 12:45 PM
SeC SeC is offline
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Wink Who is funding the Afghan Taliban? You don’t want to know


Who is funding the Afghan Taliban? You don’t want to know

by Jean MacKenzie
Global Research, August 17, 2009

U.S. soldiers (L) and an Afghan policeman keep watch near a building which is held by the Taliban in Logar, south of Kabul August 10, 2009. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

KABUL — It is the open secret no one wants to talk about, the unwelcome truth that most prefer to hide. In Afghanistan, one of the richest sources of Taliban funding is the foreign assistance coming into the country.

Virtually every major project includes a healthy cut for the insurgents. Call it protection money, call it extortion, or, as the Taliban themselves prefer to term it, “spoils of war,” the fact remains that international donors, primarily the United States, are to a large extent financing their own enemy.

“Everyone knows this is going on,” said one U.S. Embassy official, speaking privately.

It is almost impossible to determine how much the insurgents are spending, making it difficult to pinpoint the sources of the funds.

Mullah Abdul Salaam Zaeef, former Taliban minister to Pakistan, was perhaps more than a bit disingenuous when he told GlobalPost that the militants were operating mostly on air.

“The Taliban does not have many expenses,” he said, smiling slightly. “They are barefoot and hungry, with no roof over their heads and a stone for their pillow.” As for weapons, he just shrugged. “Afghanistan is full of guns,” he said. “We have enough guns for years.”

The reality is quite different, of course. The militants recruit local fighters by paying for their services. They move about in their traditional 4×4s, they have to feed their troops, pay for transportation and medical treatment for the wounded, and, of course, they have to buy rockets, grenades and their beloved Kalashnikovs.

Up until quite recently, most experts thought that drug money accounted for the bulk of Taliban funding. But even here opinion was divided on actual amounts. Some reports gauged the total annual income at about $100 million, while others placed the figure as high as $300 million — still a small fraction of the $4 billion poppy industry.

Now administration officials have launched a search for Taliban sponsors. Richard Holbrooke, U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, told a press conference in Islamabad last month that drugs accounted for less of a share of Taliban coffers than was previously thought.

“In the past there was a kind of feeling that the money all came from drugs in Afghanistan,” said Holbrooke, according to media reports. “That is simply not true.”

The new feeling is that less than half of the Taliban’s war chest comes from poppy, with a variety of sources, including private contributions from Persian Gulf states, accounting for much of the rest. Holbrooke told reporters that he would add a member of the Treasury Department to his staff to pursue the question of Taliban funding.

But perhaps U.S. officials need look no further than their own backyard.

Anecdotal evidence is mounting that the Taliban are taking a hefty portion of assistance money coming into Afghanistan from the outside.

This goes beyond mere protection money or extortion of “taxes” at the local level — very high-level negotiations take place between the Taliban and major contractors, according to sources close to the process.

A shadowy office in Kabul houses the Taliban contracts officer, who examines proposals and negotiates with organizational hierarchies for a percentage. He will not speak to, or even meet with, a journalist, but sources who have spoken with him and who have seen documents say that the process is quite professional.

The manager of an Afghan firm with lucrative construction contracts with the U.S. government builds in a minimum of 20 percent for the Taliban in his cost estimates. The manager, who will not speak openly, has told friends privately that he makes in the neighborhood of $1 million per month. Out of this, $200,000 is siphoned off for the insurgents.

If negotiations fall through, the project will come to harm — road workers may be attacked or killed, bridges may be blown up, engineers may be assassinated.

The degree of cooperation and coordination between the Taliban and aid workers is surprising, and would most likely make funders extremely uncomfortable.

One Afghan contractor, speaking privately, told friends of one project he was overseeing in the volatile south. The province cannot be mentioned, nor the particular project.

“I was building a bridge,” he said, one evening over drinks. “The local Taliban commander called and said ‘don’t build a bridge there, we’ll have to blow it up.’ I asked him to let me finish the bridge, collect the money — then they could blow it up whenever they wanted. We agreed, and I completed my project.”

In the south, no contract can be implemented without the Taliban taking a cut, sometimes at various steps along the way.

One contractor in the southern province of Helmand was negotiating with a local supplier for a large shipment of pipes. The pipes had to be brought in from Pakistan, so the supplier tacked on about 30 percent extra for the Taliban, to ensure that the pipes reached Lashkar Gah safely.

Once the pipes were given over to the contractor, he had to negotiate with the Taliban again to get the pipes out to the project site. This was added to the transportation costs.

“We assume that our people are paying off the Taliban,” said the foreign contractor in charge of the project.

In Farah province, local officials report that the Taliban are taking up to 40 percent of the money coming in for the National Solidarity Program, one of the country’s most successful community reconstruction projects, which has dispensed hundreds of millions of dollars throughout the country over the past six years.

Many Afghans see little wrong in the militants getting their fair share of foreign assistance.

“This is international money,” said one young Kabul resident. “They are not taking it from the people, they are taking it from their enemy.”

But in areas under Taliban control, the insurgents are extorting funds from the people as well.

In war-ravaged Helmand, where much of the province has been under Taliban control for the past two years, residents grumble about the tariffs.

“It’s a disaster,” said a 50-year-old resident of Marja district. “We have to give them two kilos of poppy paste per jerib during the harvest; then we have to give them ushr (an Islamic tax, amounting to one-tenth of the harvest) from our wheat. Then they insisted on zakat (an Islamic tithe). Now they have come up with something else: 12,000 Pakistani rupee (approximately $150) per household. And they won’t take even one rupee less.”

It all adds up, of course. But all things are relative: if the Taliban are able to raise and spend say $1 billion per year — the outside limit of what anyone has been able to predict — that accounts for what the United States is now spending on 10 days of the war to defeat them.

Global Research Articles by Jean MacKenzie

Who is funding the Afghan Taliban? You don’t want to know

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Old 08-17-2009, 10:23 PM
BlueAngel BlueAngel is offline
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Default Re: Who is funding the Afghan Taliban? You don’t want to know

Yeah, those Taliban.

Mightier than the greatest military power on the face of the planet and all of our allies combined.

We invaded Afghanistan in 2001, and, apparently, we haven't made any progress in stopping the Taliban.

And, may I ask?

What is it that we hope to stop the Taliban from accomplishing in Afghanistan?

Or, more importantly.

What is it that WE hope to accomplish in Afghanistan by stopping the Taliban?

Why are we FIGHTING a war in that country?

Are we still hoping to capture bin laden?

Or, are we merely keeping the Taliban at bay so the CIA can sow the poppy fields?

And, while we're asking pertinent questions here.

Why did we invade Iraq?

Whom are we fighting against and for what purpose?

Everything we were told about the invasion of Iraq were lies.

Obviously, must be the resources just as in Afghanistan.

Oil and poppy fields.

Last edited by BlueAngel : 08-17-2009 at 10:28 PM.
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Old 08-18-2009, 04:57 AM
albie albie is offline
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Default Re: Who is funding the Afghan Taliban? You don’t want to know

It's our own sense of mercy that makes the job so hard. If the taliban had our weaponry they wouldn't care about hitting innocent people. Sure, some of our money goes their way. Because they can pretend to be on our side, take the cash and use it against us. It's what they do. They hide behind normal folk. Not really a conspiracy; just a fact of guerrilla war.
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Old 08-19-2009, 04:24 AM
iHIMself™ iHIMself™ is offline
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Default Re: Who is funding the Afghan Taliban? You don’t want to know

Why Iraq? For the oil. No, I'll re-phrase that, for the 'monopoly' on oil.

Why Afghanistan? Well, the first question is, why did Russia fight for Afghanistan for over 20 years? Look at a global map. From the oil fields of Iraq through Afghanistan, leads us where? India. And then where? China.

The fact is, an oil pipeline running through Afghanistan, from the already controlled oil fields in Turkmenistan, Kuwait, Iraq, and Iran, will run into the two largest growing economies in the world. The monetary potential is astronomical.

Why is all the heroin coming from Afghanistan? Under strict Military guidelines, all troops must be 'nice' to the local farmers. They say this is to ensure local civilians do not uprise against the invasive army, as was experienced in Vietnam.
But we all know that is a front. The British invaded China (Hong Kong) and held onto it for more than 150 years specifically for the opium trade.

Drugs are illegal because the government CONTROLS the market. Noticed all the increase in anti-drug advertising? It is all subliminal messaging. To hook you. To make you think of drugs. Out of sight, out of mind.
Cigarettes? In Australia they print anti-smoking advertising on packets. This is all subliminal. No-smoking signs everywhere? To make you think of smoking. Out of sight, out of mind. It's all subliminal.

Do you honestly think they care about you? Bahahaha. There is absolutely no money in freedom.

Last edited by iHIMself™ : 08-19-2009 at 04:32 AM.
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Old 08-20-2009, 04:02 AM
albie albie is offline
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Default Re: Who is funding the Afghan Taliban? You don’t want to know

If they came out and said "Ok, we just did it for the oil." then how many people would find that wrong? I'm betting most people would give that a thumbs up. "Oh, sure, if its for oil then fine, keep the territory."

All the government have to do is cut off the oil for a few days, have a week of poverty and strife in the USA and Britain, and everyone will be begging them to invade the oil countries again.

So why not just do that?

As for the opium, you make a lot of assumptions about the government controlling the market. Do you have prooff they benefit from drugs?
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