The Taliban and Al Qaeda are said to have turned to smuggling cigarettes and cigars to raise money according to a recent report the the International Tax and Investment Center (ITIC).

The report blamed higher taxes for making a market in bootleg tobacco products.

This activity should certainly come as no surprise. Hezbollah has been involved in bootlegging cigarettes in the USA to raise money since the 1990s. The excellent book “Lightning Out of Lebanon” details how, in 1998, local law enforcement, the BATF and the FBI took down a Hezbollah cell in Charlotte, North Carolina that was sending bootlegged cigarettes to Michigan (big surprise there, huh?) and shipping the proceeds back home to Lebanon.

Al Qaeda has a history of copying the methods of Hezbollah, so this is in line with their previous practice.



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