Al-Qaida og Taliban finansieres idag ved hjelp av narkotikapenger, og støtte fra rike personer i Gulfen som sluser pengene via veldedighetsorganisasjoner.
Pengene overføres ikke lenger gjennom det offisielle finanssystemet, men med kurér eller hawala-systemet.
Al-Qaida and the Taliban have benefited from the drug trade’s growth in Afghanistan after the U.S.-led invasion in 2001, and the booming business likely will not be affected by the global slowdown.
Opium cultivation has fallen slightly this year but is still about 20 times higher than in 2001, according to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime.
Former U.S. drug czar Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who recently consulted with U.S. and NATO officials in Afghanistan, issued a report in July saying al-Qaida and the Taliban «are principally funded by what some estimate as $800 million a year derived from the huge $4 billion annual illegal production and export of opium/heroin and cannabis.»
In addition, wealthy donors and Islamic charities in the oil-rich Gulf, especially Saudi Arabia, continue to be «one of the most significant sources of illicit financing for terrorism,» said Matthew Levitt, a former Treasury Department terrorism expert now with The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
The Saudis have long insisted they are doing all they can to rein in terror financing, and U.S. officials have praised their efforts.
But, under a system known as «zakat,» wealthy Muslims are required to give a portion of their money to the poor. Much of that is given to Islamic charities, and U.S. officials say at least some of that money continues to be channeled to al-Qaida and other terrorist groups.