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Al-Qaida funding hurt

Oct. 13, 2009 at 8:00 AM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- Al-Qaida's finances are depleted to the point its influence has begun to decline, a U.S. Treasury official said.

"We assess that al-Qaida is in its weakest financial condition in several years, and that, as a result, its influence is waning," Assistant Treasury Secretary David Cohen, whose department works on strategies to disrupt terrorist financing, told a money laundering enforcement conference in Washington.

Cohen said in the first six months of this year, al-Qaida leaders made four public appeals for money, including one in June when a leader announced a lack of funding was hurting its recruitment and training, a Treasury Department news release said.

"Al-Qaida's current financial predicament represents one good measure of the success of these coordinated strategies," he said, adding the Treasury Department is deeply involved in the effort to deny financial support to other groups including the Taliban and the Haqqani network, which are active in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

Cohen, however, warned "there continues to exist a pool of donors who are ready, willing and able to contribute to al-Qaida" and to disrupt those sources would require cooperation from other countries.

He said groups like the Taliban are in much stronger financial shape, partly because of their reliance on drug trafficking and other criminal activities.

But Cohen said as these groups turn more to conventional criminal activity, they become "increasingly vulnerable to detection" by authorities.

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