Financial officers of al Qaeda and the Taliban have quietly shipped large quantities of gold out of Pakistan to Sudan in recent weeks, transiting through the United Arab Emirates and Iran, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday
According to European, Pakistani and U.S. investigators, several shipments of boxes of gold, usually disguised as other products, were taken by small boat from the Pakistani port of Karachi to either Iran or Dubai, and from there mixed with other goods and flown by chartered airplanes to Khartoum, the Sudanese capital.
U.S. and European officials said the quantity was significant and was an important indicator that the al Qaeda network and members of Afghanistan's deposed Taliban militia still had access to large financial reserves.
According to the newspaper, European and U.S. intelligence officials said the movement of gold also highlighted three significant developments in the war on terrorism: the growing role of Iranian intelligence units allied with the country's hard-line clerics in protecting and aiding al Qaeda; the potential reemergence of Sudan as a financial center for the organization; and the ability of the terrorist group to generate new sources of revenue despite the global crackdown on its finances.
Senior U.S. intelligence officials said they are investigating the information about the new gold shipments and had opened a case on the matter but had no further comment. "We know they are looking at new sources of revenue and are finding new ways to raise and move funds to where they are accessible," a U.S. official said. (Albawaba.com)
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