Taliban raise funds in Kurram and Arakzai


With the Pakistani military focusing on eliminating the Taliban in South Waziristan, the Taliban are countering by openly raising money in Arakzai, Kurram, Kohat, and Bannu. From Dawn:

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan has started a fund-raising campaign in the Arakzai Agency and parts of the Kurram Agency and Hangu. Sources said the TTP men were asking tribesmen to donate generously because the conflict in South Waziristan was likely to be a long one.

‘They are demanding cash for weapons, food and medicines because it is going to be a long offensive,’ said a local.

According to him, many politicians, businessmen, drug barons and jewellers in Kohat, Hangu, Thall, Kurram Agency, Darra Adamkhel and Bannu have been making periodic payments to the Taliban.

‘So these donations are in addition to the money routinely and regularly extorted by the militants.’

Taliban reportedly collect Rs15 million [$180,000] every year as ‘jazia’ [a tax on infidels] from the Sikh community in Arakzai Agency. They have also amassed huge sums through kidnapping for ransom.

Just as David Rohde’s report on his kidnapping highlighted the extent of Taliban control in Waziristan, the Dawn report highlights the extent of Taliban control and influence in the Arakzai and Kurram tribal agencies as well as the settled districts of Kohat and Bannu. The Pakistani military and government are selling the South Waziristan operation as the final battle against the Taliban, yet three major groups in Waziristan won’t be touched, and as Dawn makes clear, the problem extends far beyond Waziristan.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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