Saturday, August 15, 2009
Investigations: Who Funds the Taliban? We Do!
As Afghans prepare to go to the polls to elect their president on Aug. 20, a growing pile of reports is revealing the widespread drug-fuelled corruption of this country that Hilary Clinton has dubbed a "narco state." Observers told me for a story I did in Saturday's Montreal Gazette that the corruption is so bad it is helping to fuel the Taliban.
Now, an interesting story in the GlobalPost.com suggests that the Taliban's main source of funding isn't drugs (in fact, they get only a small fraction of the country's $3.4-billion U.S. opium trade) but rather protection money from the boom of Western development projects in the nation.
The piece says the funds come through high-level negotiations between the Taliban and major contractors. In other words, we fund the Taliban! The story is part of a GlobalPost series on Afghanistan, including its history and a look at the U.S. counterinsurgency facility in Kabul.