London: Millions of dollars of Saudi Arabian money continue to flow into Afghanistan from Pakistan, claim members of the Afghan financial intelligence unit, FinTraca.
The FinTraca further said this money in all probability is being used to sponsor terrorism.
According to a report in The Times, over the past four years, over GBP 920 million has entered Afghanistan from Pakistan, where they are converted into rupees or dollars, the favoured currency for terrorist operations.
The paper quoted Mohammed Mustafa Massoudi, the director-general of FinTraca in Kabul, as saying that Saudi riyals were moved from Waziristan to Peshawar, the capital of the North West Frontier Province, where Pakistani nationals were used to exchange the cash for local currency or dollars.
Exactly what happens to this cash is unclear, given the murky nature of the transactions and the absence of controls on money leaving or entering Afghanistan. The riyals, in the hands of Pakistani moneychangers, are recycled back into regular cash channels, also through Afghanistan.
“Pakistan has strict financial regulations so the riyals cannot simply be removed from Pakistan after they’ve been exchanged,” Massoudi said.
“We can trace it back as far as an entry point in Waziristan. Why would anyone want to put such money into Waziristan? Only one reason — terrorism,” Massoudi said.
The revelations illuminate the difficulties in dividing the Taliban from al Qaeda influence and the continuing involvement of Saudi donors in sponsoring the insurgency.
Authorities have demanded that Afghan insurgents renounce their relations with al Qaeda as a precondition for any integration into the political process.
The flow of Arab funds to the Taliban poses a strategic obstacle to the counter-insurgency campaign.