At least five Iranian companies in Afghanistan’s capital are using their offices covertly to finance Taliban militants in provinces near Kabul, according to a Sunday Times investigation.
Afghan intelligence and Taliban sources have told the newspaper that the firms, set up in the past six months, provide cash for a network of district Taliban treasurers to pay battlefield expenses and bonuses for killing the enemy and destroying their vehicles.
The Iranian companies win contracts to supply materials and logistics to Afghans involved in reconstruction. The money often comes in the form of aid from foreign donors.
Profits are transferred through poorly regulated Afghan banks — including Kabul Bank, which is partly owned by President Hamid Karzai’s brother Mahmood — to Tehran and Dubai.
From these countries, the money returns to Afghanistan through the informal Islamic banking system known as hawala to be dispersed to the Taliban.
Iranian companies have been established with the intention of winning contracts funded by foreign aid so that donors’ cash could be channeled into the insurgency, the official said. Western officials believe the network may have been set up by the Al-Quds force, an elite branch of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
Full story: The Sunday Times