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Taliban funding resources remain unchecked

world Updated: Oct 19, 2009 10:46 IST
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The US might have eliminated some top Taliban leaders in Afghanistan, but is struggling to cut-off their increasingly diversified terror funding that continues to keep the insurgency's coffers brimming with cash.

A report in The New York Times on Monday said the Taliban in Afghanistan have expanded their revenue generation mechanism from traditional illicit drug trade to kidnappings, extortion and foreign donations, which America is struggling to cut off.

Only recently the Special US Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke has begun focusing on the
issue of Taliban's fund generation mechanism, and has created a separate inter-agency unit led by officials from the
Department of Treasury to block their sources of funding.

"In Afghanistan the Taliban have imposed an elaborate system to tax cultivation, processing and shipment of opium,
and other crops like wheat. In the Middle East Taliban leaders have sent fund-raisers to Arab countries to keep the
insurgency's coffers brimming with cash," it said.

By diversifying their revenue stream beyond opium, officials say, the Taliban are frustrating American and NATO
efforts to weaken the insurgency by cutting off its economic lifelines.

Holbrooke himself travelled to the Gulf, a major source these outfits' funding, mainly routed through the illegal
hawala network in South Asia. But, the Taliban source of funding keeps on flourishing, the paper said.