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Afghan Intelligence Helps in Fight Against Terror, Reports UN Official
Michael Kitchen
VOA, Islamabad
14 Oct 2003, 14:16 UTC

A top U.N. official says Afghanistan is providing critical help in stopping the flow of funding to the al-Qaida terror network and the former Afghan Taleban regime.

Chilean diplomat Heraldo Munoz, who heads the U.N. committee in charge of sanctions against al-Qaida and the Taleban, says Afghan intelligence is key in halting the two organizations' funding.

Speaking to reporters on a visit to the Afghan capital Kabul, Mr. Munoz says recently provided information from Afghanistan has helped the world body hone its list of illicit funding sources.

"They have provided information that has improved immensely the quality of the names that were there, that has led even to the elimination of some names," he said. "And I think this visit will produce a further qualitative step in the information that we have."

Mr. Munoz says his committee has seized about $120 million slated for the two sanctioned groups. But he adds that money is still coming into the coffers of al-Qaida and the Taleban, in part through the narcotics trade. He says many officials believe there is a strong connection between the recent increase in Taleban attacks against Afghan government targets and the sale of opium.

Although the Taleban themselves strictly banned the cultivation of opium poppy during the last year of their rule, the narcotic plant is now openly grown and sold in parts of Afghanistan.

The religiously conservative Taleban regime fell from power in 2001, deposed by a coalition of Afghan and U.S. forces.

The United States went to war against the regime for its support of al-Qaida, a global extremist network blamed for the devastating attacks against New York and Washington on September 11, 2001.