When Afghan officials had to gather $5 million in ransom to free a diplomat held by Al Qaeda, they dug deep, according to the New York Times, and gave U.S. money given to them by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
According to the Times, Afghanistan received monthly cash deliveries from the CIA to the presidential palace in Kabul. Afghan officials said they had squirreled away about $1 million of that fund.
Al Qaeda was rejuvenated after receiving that money.
Atiyah Adb al-Rahman, Al Qaeda’s general manager, wrote to Osama bin Laden in June 2010 claiming that the money would be used for weapons and other operations. “God blessed us with a good amount of money this month,” he wrote.
In a letter back, bin Laden expressed concern about the newfound wealth:
“There is a possibility — not a very strong one — that the Americans are aware of the money delivery, and that they accepted the arrangement of the payment on the basis that the money will be moving under air surveillance,” bin Laden wrote.
But, the Times pointed out, the money wasn’t a trap: “It was just another in a long list of examples of how the United States, largely because of poor oversight and loose financial controls, has sometimes inadvertently financed the very militants it is fighting.”
This is not the first report of “ghost money,” off-the-books cash being funneled in secret to the Afghan government. New York Times reporter Matthew Rosenberg exposed “America’s conflicting priorities” in a 2013 report.
It’s apparently clear that America’s current foreign policy strategy is in major need of reform. If America is waging a war on global terrorism, then why are we funding our enemies?
Reports from investigative reporters like Rosenberg and Ben Swann have both presented cases regarding the U.S. government’s involvement in funding Islamic terrorist groups. See Ben Swann’s report on the Origin of ISIS.
BenSwann.com’s Joshua Cook asked award-winning journalist and researcher Nizar Nayouf his thoughts on the New York Times report.
Though Nayouf doesn’t consider himself an expert in the affairs of Afghanistan and “al-Qaeda” in Afghanistan, he considers this story very familiar because he said it mirrors what’s happening now in Syria.
Nayouf told Cook: “Now we know that Qatar, under the direction of the US, has paid 25 million dollars as a ransom to Jabhat Al-Nusrah (Al-Qaeda in Syria) for releasing the UN peacekeepers in the occupied Syrian Golan, who had been kidnapped by groups funded and armed by the Gulf States, especially Qatar; and other millions for releasing Lebanese civilian hostages (pilgrims) kidnapped by other groups funded and armed by Saudi Arabia and the United States.”
“In fact, according to well-documented information, the mechanism of paying ransoms for releasing hostages has become part of the United States and its Gulf allies’ policy to fund terrorist groups away from the legal monitoring of financial transactions,” he added.
“After the UN categorized ISIS and Jabhat Al-Nusrah as terrorist groups, it has become more difficult for those countries to finance these groups, The Qatari and Saudi Arabia intelligence services have resorted to direct these groups to kidnap hostages, then Qatar or Saudi Arabia pays a ransom. This mechanism makes the financing of terrorist groups seems as if to be “legit.” This is what I call “laundering terrorism’s money” or “ financing terrorism by terrorism,” said Nayouf.