Poaching for Bin Laden
In the jungles of India, local animal trappers have a new breed of client: Islamic militants using the trade in rare wildlife to raise funds for their cause.
Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark report from Assam
Saturday May 5, 2007
In recent times, however, the wildlife has attracted a new kind of visitor. According to India's security services, police, intelligence analysts, local traders and forestry officials, Islamic militants affiliated to al-Qaida are sponsoring poaching in the reserve for profit.
These groups have established bases in the formerly moderate enclave of Bangladesh and have agents operating all along the country's porous 2,500-mile border with India.
They have gone into business with local animal trappers and organised crime syndicates around Kaziranga - as well as in parks and reserves in Nepal, Burma and Thailand - in a quest for horns, ivory, pelts and other animal products with which to raise "under the wire" funds that they can move around the world invisibly.
I am surely not the only person who sees this and thinks, "Wow, wouldn't it be GREAT if our troops could go out there and help curtail the activities of these TERRORIST ENABLERS AND SUPPORTERS!!"
Help stop the cash flow? Help protect endangered species?
Nope, sorry, nuh-uh. Our troops have to have their butts stuck dead in the middle of a civil war attracting fire from both sides.
And in the meantime, these guys will be raking in the money.