At least five Iranian companies stationed in Afghanistan are covertlyfunding Taliban militants, paying them salaries of $233 a month with a$1,000 bonus for killing an American soldier, according to the SundayTimes of London.
Blowing up a US military vehicle is worth $6,000, making insurgents better paid than any Afghan police officer or soldier.
"Iran will never stop funding us, because Americans are dangerous forthem as well," said a Taliban treasurer, who travels from themountainous Wardak province to an Iranian construction company thatoperates out of Kabul to pick up the cash.
MONEY MAN: The regime of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (right) is paying to attack GIs in Afghanistan.
"The money we get is not dirty. It is for jihad," he said.
The treasurer said he has picked up almost $79,000 in the past six months.
Afghan intelligence and Taliban sources told the Times that the firms-- set up with foreign aid money within the past six months -- providecash for a network of district Taliban treasurers to pay battlefieldexpenses and bonuses for killing the enemy and destroying theirvehicles.
The Iranian companies win contracts to supply materials and logistics to Afghans involved in reconstruction. The moneyoften comes in the form of aid from foreign donors.
Profits are transferred through poorly regulated Afghan banks -- including KabulBank, which is partly owned by President Hamid Karzai's brother Mahmood-- to Tehran and Dubai.
From there, the money returns to Afghanistan through the informal Islamic banking system known as hawala.
"This means the companies involved in funding the insurgency can covertheir tracks easily. It makes it harder for us to trace the cash flow,"a senior Afghan intelligence official said.
He said the Iranian companies had been formed with the intention of winningcontracts funded by foreign aid so that donors' cash could be channeledinto the insurgency.
The Iranian embassy in Kabul refused to respond to the allegations.