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Seeds of Terror

 

How Heroin is Bankrolling the Taliban and Al-Qaeda

By Gretchen Peters
(Thomas Dunne Books, 2009)

Most people think of the Taliban and al Qaeda as religious fanatics fighting an Islamic crusade from the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. But that doesn’t explain their astonishing comeback. Why, eight years since 9/11, does the CIA say they are better armed and better funded than ever? Author Gretchen Peters qoutes Afghanistan’s intelligence officials introducing us to a new name: Haji Juma Khan (HJK), the country’s premier smuggler - the center of gravity for the Taliban drug trade, "Mullah Omar. Tahir Yuldeshev. Osama bin Laden. They all work for him.” Afghan officials told Peters.

Author Gretchen Peters makes the case that we must cut off the Taliban and al Qaeda from their drug earnings if we ever want to beat them. This battle isn’t about ideology or religion. It’s about creating a new economy for Afghanistan – and breaking the cycle of crime, corruption and extremism that has gripped the region for decades.

Seeds of Terror will reshape the way you think about America’s enemies, revealing them more as Mafiosi than mujahidin who earn as much as a half a billion dollars every year off the opium trade and other criminal activity. Seeds of Terror traces their illicit activities from vast poppy fields in southern Afghanistan to heroin labs run by Taliban commanders, from drug convoys armed with Stinger missiles to the money launderers of Karachi and Dubai.

Seeds of Terror is based on hundreds of interviews with Taliban fighters, smugglers, and law enforcement and intelligence agents. Their information is matched by classified documents shown to the author by frustrated U.S. officials – who fear the next 9/11 will be far deadlier than the first – and paid for with heroin profits.

Gretchen Peters has covered Pakistan and Afghanistan for more than a decade, first for The Associated Press and later as a reporter for ABC News. Peters was nominated for an Emmy for her coverage of the 2007 assassination of Benazir Bhutto and won the SAJA Journalism Award for a Nightline segment on the former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf. She has worked with leading media outlets including The National Geographic Society, The Christian Science Monitor and The New Republic, and she has been a commentator on NPR and CNN. She now lives in the US with her husband, Robert Capa Gold Medal winning photographer John Moore and their two children. In fall 2009, she will enter the Josef Korbel School of International Studies to pursue a master’s degree in Homeland Securities and Criminal Justice.

 

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