ND Expert: Direct link between rise in Taliban power and private funding

Jimmy Gurule

The Taliban are in much stronger financial shape than al Qaeda, and their emergence over the last two years as a formidable military force is directly tied to funding by private benefactors, according to Jimmy Gurulé, University of Notre Dame professor of law and one of the world’s leading experts on terrorist financing.

“The good news is that al Qaeda has been weakened by military strikes killing top al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan,” Gurulé said. “These military efforts have further denied the terror group a safe haven to plan and launch major terrorist attacks against the West. As the result of al Qaeda’s decline, donors have been reluctant to fund the terrorist organization. No one wants to donate to a losing cause.

“The bad news is that the Taliban are growing in strength both in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and are perceived by many as winning the war in Afghanistan. As the result, there is no shortage of private donors willing to finance the Taliban’s efforts.”

According to Gurulé, the Taliban receive approximately $100 million annually from the opium trade in Afghanistan – a narco-state which is keeping the Taliban flush with funds to purchase military weapons and recruit fighters. Further, the U.S. government’s efforts to stem the flow of funds from the sale of heroin in Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere around the world back to Afghanistan have been largely ineffectual.

Media advisory: Jimmy Gurulé’s comments may be used in whole or in part. He is available for interviews and can be reached at 574-631-5917 or Gurulé.1@nd.edu. Additional information on Gurulé, including video, is available at http://newsinfo.nd.edu/for-the-media/nd-experts/faculty/jimmy-gurule.

Originally published by at newsinfo.nd.edu on October 13, 2009.