Afghanistan’s Taliban appeal for donations

KABUL: Afghanistan’s Taliban appealed Wednesday to the Muslim world for donations for their insurgency in a rare move that analysts said was part of their media war.

Complete with telephone hotlines and email addresses, the appeal was posted on a Taliban website asking Muslims worldwide to help the rebels in what they say is a “Jihad”, or a holy war, against non-Muslim “invaders”.

The Taliban were in power between 1996 and 2001 but were toppled in a US-led invasion after refusing to turn in Osama Bin Laden, the leader of Al-Qaeda wanted by Washington for the September 11, 2001 attacks on US cities.

Since being ousted, the remnants of the militia have waged a bloody insurgency.

“In the light of Islamic sharia, all Muslims everywhere are duty-bound to join the Jihad with money and soul,” the militant group said.

The Taliban “are still waging legitimate Jihad single-handedly with mere help from common sincere Islam-loving masses and is in dire need of financial assistance from the Muslim brothers worldwide for its military and non-military expenditures,” it added.

The appeal appeared to be part of the rebels’ “media war”, a move to show their campaign is supported by the masses, said analyst Abdul Waheed Wafa.

“I think it’s part of the Taliban propaganda war,” Wafa, director of the Afghanistan Centre, a research body at Kabul University, told AFP.

“They are trying to show that their Jihad is supported by the people and their funds are coming from the people,” Wafa added.

According to Western and Afghan intelligence most Taliban funds are generated from Afghanistan’s multi-billion dollar opium production, the raw material for making heroin.

Afghanistan produces more than 90 percent of the world’s opium.

The nation’s Western-backed government also accuses neighbouring Pakistan’s intelligence agencies and radical groups of funding the Taliban insurgency, mostly a campaign of suicide attacks and other bombings.

Pakistan denies the allegations. AFP