January 22, 2007

Taliban Fundraising

The Taliban are raising money with impunity through long-standing tribal networks and financial associations that are no respecters of borders:

... However, as the insurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq testify, the money has certainly not been stopped. The major reason for this is that Washington and its allies made the mistake of looking for and applying high-tech solutions.

Had the focus been more on the "unschooled wisdom" prevalent in the mountains of Afghanistan and in the deserts of Iraq, the US might not be in such a poor position as it is now.

... Once everyone in the room was settled, Jalil began to speak. "The jihad has been raging in Afghanistan [for five years] and it will be highly intensified this spring. We are confronting the enemy, which is a world superpower, and we have just the power of our faith. ... We need equipment and supplies to dismiss the foreign invaders once and for all from our soil. I beg you all to contribute to the liberation movement of Afghanistan and beg you to hand over your hard cash for the resistance and the mujahideen."

Within an hour, Jalil had collected 700,000 Pakistani rupees (more than US$11,600), with each person in the room handing over various sums of cash.

... The UAE, though, remains the hub for the Taliban's finances, with money moving through the traditional hawala (paper-free transfer) system or through direct contacts.

Taliban commanders who have not yet made it on to any wanted list frequently visit the UAE, where they link with the Afghan diaspora to make financial appeals in support of the Afghan resistance. ...

This is an example of a situation where a focus on the Bush-derided police work approach to dealing with terrorism would be achieving greater successes. Getting more people who speak the language, creating informant networks based on trust and infiltration instead of the cash and fear dragnets that have filled Guantanamo Bay with the hapless victims of their neighbors' animosity.

You can't fight this kind of network with bombs and you can't fight it with a bank of computers. Because the world doesn't work that way, no matter how many times the president says it does.

The fighting in Afghanistan isn't over. There will continue to be supporters in Pakistan willing to help fellow tribesmen and they don't care about such trifles as citizenship. There will continue to be supporters of jihad in Afghanistan throughout that country's diaspora and among those in the mideast who see that war as a cheap investment in bloodying the US' nose. Look what they did to the last superpower in Afghanistan.

I may not be a military strategist, but this doesn't look like winning to me. This looks like a well-funded, well-planned insurgency with international financial backing that's slowly building capacity under the radar. Literally. Our electronic warfare and financial monitoring capabilities are clearly at a total loss. This looks like a slow-motion catastrophe. But what should we have been expecting from a president this incompetent?

Posted by natasha at January 22, 2007 04:57 AM | War on Terrorism | Technorati links |