“Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network is deeply ‘involved’ in international drug trafficking and is using the money to buy arms, and possibly radioactive material for use in a ‘dirty’ nuclear bomb, according to senior US officials.
‘Bin Laden does not mind trafficking in drugs, even though it is against the teaching of Islam, because it is being used to kill Westerners,’ said a Defence official.” This from SifyNews, with thanks to Nicolei.
The article says of bin Laden: “‘He has allies and associates who are not members per se but who move products for him and take drugs and buy arms and give the arms to al Qaeda,’ the official said.
This is no surprise; we have seen it before. The Taliban’s Abdul Rashid banned hashish “because it is consumed by Afghans and Muslims,” but stated: “Opium is permissible because it is consumed by kafirs [unbelievers] in the West and not by Muslims or Afghans.”
Despite his profit margin, however, Osama bin Laden or his ghostwriter didn’t hesitate in November 2002 to excoriate the U.S. for its drug use: “You are a nation that permits the production, trading and usage of intoxicants. You also permit drugs, and only forbid the trade of them, even though your nation is the largest consumer of them.”
Sify continues: “Al Qaeda’s drug operation came to the surface earlier this year when three boats operated by al Qaeda linked persons and carrying two tons of hashish, 85 pounds of heroin and 150 pounds of methamphetamines were seized, the officials were quoted as saying by ‘The Washington Times’.
“Though the intelligence community still does not have a firm grasp on the scope of al Qaeda’s drug operations and how much money it raises, estimates are in the millions of dollars.
“Bin Laden, officials said, reaps the profits in two ways. His allies regulate smuggling routes out of Afghanistan into Iran, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and other countries, essentially placing a tax on each shipment to let it pass. Or, alternatively, al Qaeda takes the drugs as payment and uses them to buy arms.
“The officials said that there are also unconfirmed intelligence reports that al Qaeda has bought radioactive material for use in a ‘dirty bomb’–a conventional bomb packed with radioactive material.”