Saudi millions allegedly flowing into Afghanistan

The Times reports that according to members of the Afghan financial intelligence unit, FinTraca, more than £920 million, have have flowed into Afghanistan with the sponsorship of terrorism its most likely use. The funds arrived from Saudi Arabia and entered the country from Pakistan, where they are converted into rupees or dollars.

“We can trace it back as far as an entry point in Waziristan,” said Mohammed Mustafa Massoudi, the director-general of FinTraca in Kabul. “Why would anyone want to put such money into Waziristan? Only one reason — terrorism.”

The revelations illuminate the difficulties in dividing the Taleban from al-Qaeda influence and the continuing involvement of Saudi donors in sponsoring the insurgency. It also suggests the weaknesses of financial controls in the area. As a matter of fact, Afghanistan has no foreign exchange controls and no restrictions on amounts in any denomination coming in or out, providing that it is declared. Although rules have been introduced to control the activities of hawala brokers — whose services are technically illegal in Pakistan — the insurgency allows them to operate without regulation in several Afghan provinces.

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