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Funding for Terrorism: New Revelation and Implications
   
 
 
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Funding for Terrorism: New Revelation and Implications

 
Saturday, 19 June 2010 00:33
 
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by Debidatta Aurobinda Mahapatra (EPOS)
EPOS Insights

On 1 June 2010 the Afghan financial intelligence unit FinTraca alleged that donors from Saudi Arabia are funding Taliban activities in Afghanistan. The Director General of FinTraca Mohammed Mustafa Massoudi while speaking to media argued that the purpose of sending the money to the tune of $920 million is none other than promotion of terrorist activities. The funding came through Pakistan, particularly its Waziristan area, which is the hub of radical elements including Al Qaeda. Massoudi asked ‘Why would anyone want to put such money into Waziristan?,’ and replied, there is one reason, ‘terrorism.’ The link between terror funding and Taliban needs to be seen in the newly emerging context in which Pakistan army on the same day pronounced its victory over Taliban in Orakzai in Waziristan.

The 21st century in its first decade has witnessed strengthening and mushrooming of terrorist activities across the globe. The fact remains that like any massive organisation terrorist groups having wider networks can not work effectively without adequate funding. The massive international network of terrorism cannot be sustained without huge funding whether raised from state actors or non-state actors. From a broader point of view, the sustenance and operations of any terrorist organisation would involve, besides the ideology, the following: man power, finance and technology. Like any organisations the terrorist organisations too devise their rules and regulations, maintain the order of hierarchy and command structure. Thus funding is required not only to plan terror activities but also to buy or develop the technology to devise weapons, to motivate people whether by means of ideology or money towards the organisation, and its activities.

A crucial issue that need to be emphasised in this context is that all members of a terrorist organisation are not driven by ideology. There are instances in which professionals such as technicians, engineers and doctors are attracted to the organisation by the lure of money. The ordinary members of the group, even though driven by religious ideology, too are paid monthly salaries in many cases. There are reports about payment of lump sum money for the cadres for carrying out suicide attacks.

The arrested culprit of 2008 Mumbai terror attack, Ajmal Kasab confessed before the investigators that he was paid certain amount to take part in the terror attack in Mumbai in 2008. He was assured in case of his ‘martyrdom,’ his family will be looked after by Lashkar-e-Toiba, the terrorist organisation which gave him training and masterminded the attack. In the context of Kashmir, there are enough evidences that many young people were attracted to the militant violence by the allurement of money. A study revealed that in the heydays of militant violence in Kashmir, a youth could throw a grenade at targets on the payment of Indian Rupees one thousand.

The crucial issue remains that the financers of terrorist activities need to be identified and brought to book. These donors provide huge funds in the name of charity to sustain terrorist organisations and their activities. In the major arenas of terrorist violence, where it was in North Caucasus, or Kashmir, or Xinjiang, the terrorist movements were out rightly encouraged and supported by the countries or groups from outside. Few examples would suffice this point of view. One White Paper on Chechnya published by RIA Novosti and Russian Information Centre in 2000 named, among others, 11 terrorist organisations based in Pakistan, which supported the radical activities in Chechnya.

As per a report published in Ria Novosti Daily Review on 19 February 2003, one Beneficence Islamic Charity, found under the guidance of Al Qaeda, sent $700,000 to the separatists in Chechnya in 19 electronic transfers within four months in 2000. The money was cashed in Tbilisi and Riga. In the case of Mumbai terror attack, the Italian police in November 2009 arrested two Pakistani nationals based in the north Italian town of Brescia who were involved in illegal money transfer to support the Mumbai attack.

Recently the name of Saudi Arabia has figured prominently in promoting radical variety of Islam in other countries including Afghanistan and Pakistan. Called Wahabbism, this extremist version of Islam has not only been embraced by Al Qaeda and Taliban but by almost all radical groups across the globe. Besides Afghanistan, other countries too have alleged the financial support provided by the donors of Saudi Arabia to terrorist groups.

Saudi Arabia needs to take steps towards reviewing its policies in terms of supporting radical elements and organizations around the world. The Gulf country which appears to have poised to play a crucial role towards reconciliation in Afghanistan has to take seriously the new revelation.

In January this year there were talks in Dubai between the UN representative and the Taliban representatives. Saudi Arabia has supported this process and expressed interest to play mediatory role between Afghan government and the Taliban. The likely establishment of Saudi Arabia’s image as a fund provider to Taliban or as a silent spectator to the donations made to Taliban ostensibly for terrorist activities will definitely reduce trust on Riyadh as a peace maker in Afghanistan. It appears further complex in view of the Afghan government’s resolve to exclude those elements of Taliban who are still engaged in violent activities from the reconciliation process in the war torn country.

It is indeed crucial to realise that terror funding and peace making, or broadly terrorism and peace can not go together. Funding terrorist activities will no way help the cause of peace or stability in Afghanistan; rather it will further aid fragility of the war torn country, and make peace prospects precarious in it and other regions of the world. It is a matter of serious concern and also needs to be taken into account by international powers urgently. Here again the issue of international cooperation to tackle the menace of terrorism and networks comes to forefront.



Last modified on Wednesday, 11 July 2012 14:17
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