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News, documents and analysis on violent extremism


Sunday, August 8, 2004
 

al Qaeda-Linked Web Site: $10 Million A Month Needed For Taliban in 2001

By J.M. Berger

INTELWIRE.com




In spring 2001, a Web site allegedly linked to al Qaeda told visitors that the Taliban needed to raise $10 million a month in order to repel a chemical weapons attack on Afghanistan by the United States.



A Web page on the site advised volunteers on how to carry large amounts of cash through international airports. "Trustworthy members" of local Muslim communities were told to deliver cash monthly to Pakistan, from where it would be transported to Afghanistan.



The Web site, azzam.com, is detailed in an indictment filed by U.S. prosecutors last week against Babar Ahmad, a British Webmaster alleged to have used the site to raise funds for terrorism.



The site is no longer active, but INTELWIRE has recovered several pages of the site from the Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org). The pages were posted in early and mid-2001, just months before the September 11 attack on America. (related story)



A page labeled "How You Can Help The Taliban" (mirror) was dated "Spring 2004." According to the page, "at this moment in time, cash donations are required more than other due to an expected strike on Afghanistan by Russian and American Special Forces."



The Web page strongly urges readers to send cash to the Taliban: "Our analysis, it is a bigger priority for Muslim organisations to help the Taliban at this time than to help any other Muslim cause in the World," including the Palestinians.



The page also offers advice on moving large amounts of cash across borders and through airports. The site advises, in capital letters and bold type:



"UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES MUST ANY OF THE MONEY BE HANDED OVER TO ANY OFFICIAL OF ANY AIRPORT OR COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, EVEN FOR A FEW SECONDS. IF THERE IS A MAJOR PROBLEM, SAY THAT YOU WILL RETURN BACK TO YOUR COUNTRY WITH THE MONEY BUT THAT YOU WILL NOT HAND OVER THE MONEY TO ANYONE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, EXCEPT ITS INTENDED RECIPIENTS. IF THEY OFFER TO KEEP THE MONEY SAFELY FOR YOU UNTIL YOU DEPART, REFUSE AND INSIST TO STAY WITH THE MONEY, EVEN IF IT MEANS STAYING IN THE AIRPORT UNTIL THE NEXT FLIGHT." (Typos and capitals are from the original.)



The site also advised those carrying money to take the cash to Pakistan, where it would be transferred through the Taliban's consulate there.



According to the Web page, "There are many things the Taliban is unable to do due to the lack of funds. As a reasonable estimate, at least $10 million a month are required in donations from outside the country to be of any meaningful use."

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Views expressed on INTELWIRE are those of the author alone.


     



     

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ABOUT

INTELWIRE is a web site edited by J.M. Berger. a researcher, analyst and consultant covering extremism, with a special focus on extremist activities in the U.S. and extremist use of social media. He is a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, and author of the critically acclaimed Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, the only definitive history of the U.S. jihadist movement, and co-author of ISIS: The State of Terror with Jessica Stern.

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