The resurgent Taliban insurgency in Southern Afghanistan is getting its money from an unlikely source, protection fees being paid by local transportation companies who transport goods for the international forces that they are fighting.
The Times is reporting that the subcontractors are funneling millions of dollars of money from the various NATO nations fighting in Afghanistan since 2001 to the Taliban to allow them to safely deliver supplies shipped from the Pakistan port city of Karachi to the NATO forces.
With a permanent presence across 72 percent of Afghanistan, the Taliban controls many roads and routinely ambushes convoys traveling across the war torn nation. Though most of the transportation companies hire guards for their convoys, one fuel importation company estimates that about 25 percent of its security budget goes straight to the Taliban. Another company near Ghazni is reportedly paying the Taliban fighters to escort their convoys through the troubled area.
Though it has sought alternatives, NATO is reliant on the route through the Khyber Pass for about 75 percent of its supplies, and that reliance is expected to grow as the international military commitment to the nation increases. As the new troops struggle to quell growing Taliban influence in the area, their arrival is likely to also be a windfall for those Taliban, who will be able to demand payment from an increasing army of trucks bringing in their supplies.