February 10, 2014 | Quote
Exclusive: U.S. Won’t Seize Taliban Ally’s Cash
In the last 17 months since the U.S. government financially blacklisted the Haqqani Network, one of the deadliest insurgent groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan, not a single dollar associated with the group has been blocked or frozen, according to U.S. officials and one of the Congressman who oversees the Treasury Department’s financial war on terrorism.
But it’s not just the Haqqanis—an ally today in the Taliban’s fight against U.S. troops and the Afghan government—who seem to have been spared from America’s economic attacks. According to a Treasury Department letter written in late November, not a single dollar been seized from the Pakistani Taliban, either, at least for 2012.
The reason why, according to a leading Congressman, is that enforcing such sanctions might upset delicate negotiations between America, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Taliban, and other insurgent groups. “The Haqqani network is associated with the Taliban. My opinion is that this is appeasing the Taliban. Because if we go after the Haqqani network’s money, then the Taliban will walk away from these talks,” Rep. Ted Poe, a Republican chairman of a House subcommittee that oversees the fight against terrorism, told The Daily Beast.
Jonathan Schanzer, a senior fellow at the hawkish Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and a former counter-terrorism analyst at the U.S. Treasury Department, said in some ways his old employer is a victim of its success. “It has become virtually impossible to capture their cash,” he said, pointing to how terrorist groups have developed ways to evade U.S. sanctions by working in cash and Hawala networks, ways of transferring cash between networks of brokers in the Islamic world that avoid traditional banks.