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.
It is of course known to all but the dimmest that al Qaeda and the Taliban have largely been funded and organised by the US. It was only when the Taliban overplayed their cards when they did not want to permit an oil pipe through their country and they finished the opium business that the US attacked their country.
The war against Afghanistan was as was known by all but the dimmest planned long before the 9/11 attacks and perhaps, if you are still naive enough to believe the official conspiracy theory about the 9/11 attacks you might believe that we are only in Afghanistan to do the right thing (whatever that may mean) but when you realise that the US is actually financing the Taliban than surely you must be against sending NZ SAS troops into that godforsaken place.
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.”
by Jean MacKenzie