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“Money and soul”: the Taliban ask supporters for cash

April 18, 2012

By Tim Foxley

An interesting development on the English language section of the Taliban’s official website.  A new banner heading, entitled “The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Financial Commission”.  Once you click on it, you get a very strong call for financial support for the Taliban’s jihad against the “US occupation”, together with information on how to support their cause with contributions.  Perhaps of significance is this description of the Taliban’s financial situation:

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan which stood up with Muslim Ummah’s physical and financial support, are still waging legitimate Jihad single-handedly with mere help from common sincere Islam-loving masses and is in dire need of financial assistance from the Muslim brothers worldwide for its military and non-military expenditures.

Some other thoughts occur to me:

The Taliban clearly recognise that many Moslems are not flocking to fight for the Taliban.  They are stressing/reminding potential supporters of the idea that it is acceptable to contribute money in order to fulfil a jihadic obligation.

Although an internet fund-raising appeal is perhaps logical and a quick and easy step to poke the consciences of Gulf State supporters, it might suggest that the Taliban are struggling financially, perhaps more so than previously suspected.  The recent NATO paper “State of the Taliban”, suggested a kind of Taliban financial “self-sufficiency” – IEDs and small arms being cheap and easy to come by and most fighters not requiring anything like a “salary”:

NATO on Taliban finances: The Taliban continue to openly raise the majority of their revenue through donations. Collectors travel door to door throughout Pakistan requesting donations, without disguising their Taliban affiliation. Most donations are provided under the official title of zakat, or religious tithing, but the eventual use of the donation for jihad is clear. Donors range from wealthy businessmen to impoverished families, and the amount donated is typically determined as a percentage of available income at the time. Taliban collections regularly take place throughout the year, in every city in Pakistan.  Donors from the Gulf Region also provide funds to support Taliban efforts, though this process is far more secretive.

I wonder if there might also be a measure of trying to avoid dependency on other, perhaps less desirable supporters.  I’m thinking of alleged Pakistan military and intelligence backers.

Also interesting is the reference to military and non-military expenditures.  Attempting to make it slightly easier for potential supporters who may be uneasy about suicide bombings and other unsavoury “Moslem on Moslem” direct actions to contribute to the cause?  Alternately, perhaps there is a hint that expenses are increasingly incurred in more political/dialogue-related directions – travel and relocation expenses, rent for an office…!

I actually thought, upon seeing the heading of “Financial Commission” on the Taliban website, that a new direction was being attempted – perhaps an initiative to explain Taliban financial policy and approach to Afghanistan and its peoples, something indicative of constructive thinking from the Taliban leadership.  We can’t rule this out in the future, I guess, and it is slightly positive to be reminded that there actually is a financial commission at the very least.  But for the moment, the Taliban seem content to remain with little more than a superficial crust of wider political, economic and social thinking and will continue to employ sophisticated web technology for the presentation of less than sophisticated ventures.

Let us save up for our Hereafter by doing our share of Jihad responding to the call of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and offer our monetary aid and donation to the financial officials of the Islamic Emirate

I wonder if this report has spurred them into action:

BBC: Nato foreign and defence ministers are set to meet in Brussels to discuss how to fund security forces in Afghanistan once international troops leave.

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