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Follow the money – Taliban has rich friends

The Taliban-led insurgency has such a fundraising machine to produce cash from criminal rackets, donations, taxes and shakedowns that US and Afghan officials say it may be impossible to shut down its cash flow. The US says the single largest source of cash for the Taliban, once thought to be Afghanistan's opium trade (perhaps 90% of world’s total, is in fact foreign donations. The CIA recently estimated the Taliban Inc. received R795-million in the past year from donors. This is despite the US Treasury’s and Security Council’s blacklists of donors to the Taliban and al-Qaeda which requires all members to freeze the assets of designated Taliban officials and their supporters. Richard Barrett, coordinator of the UN Taliban and al-Qaeda Monitoring Team, said sympathizers were much more skilful today at masking their donations and ensuring money couldn’t be traced back to them.

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