Emeralds and jihad

Emeralds and jihad
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First Published: Mon, Apr 06 2009. 12 14 AM IST
Updated: Mon, Apr 06 2009. 12 14 AM IST
There is something secular about the jihad in Pakistan’s badlands. It is funded by the illegal trade in emeralds and other precious stones mined in the Swat valley.
The raw gems are sent to Jaipur in India and then on to Bangkok and later sold in the markets of Switzerland and Israel. None of the consumers in these markets knows the origin of the stones. Almost all the nations involved are hostile to the Taliban.
The Taliban couldn’t care less: “We know that all the minerals have been created by Allah, the mighty and the merciful, for the benefit of his creatures. We should take the opportunity,” the Taliban spokesman in Swat was quoted as saying by PTI.
The irony here is that the Taliban seemed to have developed a financial system that is bomb-proof and immune to the tightening of suspect financial transactions by Western financial institutions. While Western governments try to bolt the front doors of terror finance, the roof of that architecture seems to have been blown open. Safe, government-proof passage of gems across half a dozen nations bears testimony to that.
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First Published: Mon, Apr 06 2009. 12 14 AM IST