U.S. and European counterterrorism officials say a rising number of Western recruits -- including Americans -- are traveling to Afghanistan and Pakistan to attend paramilitary training camps. The flow of recruits has continued unabated, officials said, in spite of an intensified campaign over the past year by the CIA to eliminate al-Qaeda and Taliban commanders in drone missile attacks.
Since January, at least 30 recruits from Germany have traveled to Pakistan for training, according to German security sources. About 10 people -- not necessarily the same individuals -- have returned to Germany this year, fueling concerns that fresh plots are in the works against European targets.
...European security officials have warned for many years of the threat posed by homegrown radicals who have gone to Afghanistan and Pakistan to wage jihad. Officials in some countries, such as Britain, said they have successfully cracked down on the number of would-be fighters going to South Asia. But others, such as Germany, are seeing a significant increase and struggling to contain it.Meanwhile, the New York Times has an interesting piece about the Taliban's fundraising techniques:
The Taliban in Afghanistan are running a sophisticated financial network to pay for their insurgent operations, raising hundreds of millions of dollars from the illicit drug trade, kidnappings, extortion and foreign donations that American officials say they are struggling to cut off.
In Afghanistan, the Taliban have imposed an elaborate system to tax the cultivation, processing and shipment of opium, as well as other crops like wheat grown in the territory they control, American and Afghan officials say. In the Middle East, Taliban leaders have sent fund-raisers to Arab countries to keep the insurgency’s coffers brimming with cash.
Estimates of the Taliban’s annual revenue vary widely. Proceeds from the illicit drug trade alone range from $70 million to $400 million a year, according to Pentagon and United Nations officials. By diversifying their revenue stream beyond opium, the Taliban are frustrating American and NATO efforts to weaken the insurgency by cutting off its economic lifelines, the officials say.