'Afghan-Taliban's intricate fundraising system almost impossible to track'

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Kabul, Sep. 27 (ANI): The financial support system for the Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan is so intricate that it is almost impossible to track and choke off the movement's money supply, US and Afghan officials have said.

Notwithstanding the earlier perception that Afghanistan's booming opium trade is the largest source of cash for the Taliban, the Obama administration officials say that it is foreign donations that support the insurgency most.

Other sections of the fundraising apparatus, which generates cash are- criminal rackets, taxes, shakedowns, protection money etc., The Washington Post reports.

The CIA recently estimated that Taliban leaders and their allies received 106 million dollars in 2008 from donors outside Afghanistan.

For the past decade, the U.S. Treasury and the U.N. Security Council have maintained financial blacklists of suspected donors to the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Richard Barrett, of the United Nations' Taliban and al-Qaeda Monitoring Team, said: "Taliban sympathizers are much more skilful today at masking their donations and ensuring that the money cannot be traced back to them."

"It's been very, very difficult to identify these people. You can track the money flow and say this money came from the Gulf, but it's a lot more difficult to confirm the source," Barrett added.

Earlier, Obama administration's special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard C. Holbrooke, had said the Taliban was reaping the bulk of its revenue from donors abroad, especially from Pakistan.

The US officials suspect that Pakistani military and intelligence operatives are continuing to fund the Afghan insurgency, although the Islamabad government denies this.

U.S. officials said that it was difficult to estimates Taliban's overall cash flow because the insurgency is a "decentralized movement comprising many factions and commanders".

But annual revenue is thought to total hundreds of millions of dollars. (ANI)

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