From WhatsApp to Hawala, How the Taliban Moves Money Around

The Taliban has been trying to fundraise on the internet longer than Afghanistan’s current government has existed. In recent years, however, the insurgents have turned to internet messaging platforms secured by end-to-end encryption, such as Telegram, Viber, and WhatsApp, to solicit donations.

On September 9, the Taliban posted a statement to its English Telegram channel in anticipation of an annual Islamic holiday. “As you know, Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is the guardian of thousands of widows and orphans and provide them sacrifice of Eid-ul-Azha,” read the post, written in broken English. It implored “every fortune and sympathizer Muslim” to contact the Taliban’s treasury through its Gmail account or a phone number linked to Telegram, Viber, and WhatsApp.