U.S. Authorities Claim Al-Qaeda Has Financial Difficulties
By Digital Journal | by Chris Dade
Tuesday, October 13th, 2009 @ 4:26AM
A senior official at the U.S. Treasury is claiming that al-Qaeda has encountered financial difficulties and during the course of the year has made more than one appeal for funds. Rachel Ehrenfeld said… “They call themselves the Taliban, they call themselves Al Qaeda, they call themselves many names, all kind of Jihadist organizations. At the same time they are training together and they are also getting funds from more or less the same sources.” David Cohen is the Assistant Treasury Secretary, whose role involves monitoring the flow of funds to terrorist organizations, and he has confirmed that the activities of the intelligence section within his department have been successful in shutting off the sources of funding for al-Qaeda. According to the BBC Mr Cohen said: “We assess that al-Qaeda is in its weakest financial condition in several years and that, as a result, its influence is waning.” However Mr Cohen warned that due to its network of donors the situation could change very quickly in al-Qaeda’s favor. Furthermore he advised that the Taliban is not having similar difficulties with funding, ABC Australia noting that it is able to demand money from poppy farmers, drug runners and those running perfectly legitimate businesses. Richard Holbrooke, U.S. Special Envoy to Afghanistan, has indicated that the Taliban also enjoys considerable financial support from private donors in the Gulf. Rachel Ehrenfeld, author of the book Funding Evil, which explores the manner in which Islamic terrorist organizations are funded, and Director of the American Center for Democracy, whose advisers include former Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle, offered her own assessment of the situation. She said: “They call themselves the Taliban, they call themselves Al Qaeda, they call themselves many names, all kind of Jihadist organizations. At the same time they are training together and they are also getting funds from more or less the same sources.” Ms Ehrenfield’s comments appear to cast doubt on the efforts of some within the current administration in Washington to separate the Taliban from al-Qaeda when reviewing the strategy being pursued by the U.S. in Afghanistan. In commenting on the manner in which terrorist organizations in general obtain their funds Mr Cohen highlighted the involvement of Hezbollah, the Islamist group based in the Lebanon, in cigarette smuggling and the production and sale of illegal copies of music and computer software.