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Taliban raised $400 million in 2011, says UN

  • The Taliban raised about $400 million last year from various sources including donations, taxing local economies and extorting money from drug dealers, cell phone operators and aid projects, according to a United Nations report on the militant Islamist group.

    The report, which was released on Tuesday to the UN Security Council, said around $275 million reached Taliban leadership while the rest was collected and spent at a local level.

    "The team understands Taliban funding as follows: revenue raised from taxing the local economy serves primarily to support local operations and is only in a few cases channelled upwards," the report said.

    "Revenue extorted from nation-wide enterprises such as narcotics producers and traffickers, construction and trucking companies, mobile telephone operators, mining companies and aid and development projects goes to the Taliban Financial Commission which answers to the Taliban leadership.”

    The estimate covers the financial year ending March 20, 2012.

    The report also warned against a popular belief that the Taliban's main source of income came from Afghanistan's opium poppy economy.

    Afghanistan makes up nearly 90 percent of the global output of opium. Afghan officials estimate that the Taliban earned around $100 million in 2011/2012 from the drug crop, an insignificant share as the annual value of the industry is estimated at $4 billion.