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Official: Taliban Is Better Financed Than Al-Qaida

A senior Treasury Department official says the Taliban is in much stronger financial shape than al-Qaida and relies on a wide range of criminal activities to pay for attacks on U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

David Cohen, the department's assistant secretary for terrorist financing, said Monday that the extremist group extorts money from farmers and heroin traffickers involved in Afghanistan's booming drug trade. He said the Taliban also demands protection payments from legitimate Afghan businesses.

Portions of the Taliban's illicit proceeds make their way out of the country and into the global financial system, he said. Cohen did not specify how much or detail the money's suspected entry points.

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