The U.S. Treasury has designated two Afghan drug traffickers as Specially Designated Global Terrorists for providing financial and logistical support to Taliban insurgents. The men, Haji Agha Jan Alizai and Saleh Mohammad Kakar, ran organized networks that coordinated actions with Taliban militants.
Alizai ran one of the largest drug trafficking networks in Helmand province. The drug operation, which received protection from the Taliban, reportedly provided funds, shelter, and transportation to insurgents in the region. Alizai personally purchased weapons for the Taliban, traveled to Pakistan to meet with senior Taliban leaders, and facilitated the procurement of fraudulent passports for Taliban members.
Kakar's drug network, which operated in Kandahar and Helmand, included heroin processing labs that were protected by the Taliban. He also collected, managed, and hid money belonging to senior Taliban leaders, and was responsible for facilitating the payment of protection "taxes." Kakar also reportedly provided the Taliban with vehicles for use in suicide attacks from a car dealership that he owned.
Cooperation between drug traffickers and terrorist organizations is not new. We previously reported on a connection between al Shabaab militants and narco traffickers in Somalia. Explaining the move, the Treasury said "today's action is aimed at further disrupting the financial networks of these individuals who are fueling the insurgency in Afghanistan."