Netherlands: Khat trade finances al-Shabab

Netherlands: Khat trade finances al-Shabab

Khat smuggling from the Netherlands provides Somali terrorist organization al-Shabab with millions of Euros. Radio program "Dit is De Dag" (Radio 1) investigated and found very strong indications of this.

I've reported on this issue before, but now a Dutch radio show interviewed Somali khat smugglers who admit that the money goes to al-Shabaab. Unfortunately, this being a radio show, the English speaking Somalis were recorded over with Dutch translation. Still, it's possible to hear a bit of the original. The interesting part beings around 6:30, with the following exchange at around 8:00.

Q: Are they involved in al-Shabab?

A: They're involved in al-Shabab, yes.

This article was prepared by the Islam in Europe blog -

"Dit Is De Dag" traced two Swedish ex-smugglers of Somali origin, who for years brought soft-drugs from the Netherlands to Scandinavia. They say that they proceeds went to Muslims working for al-Shabab. This terror organization is linked to al-Qaeda.

One of the khat smugglers was the right-hand man of the important drug smugglers Ali Shakur for seven years. Shakur is currently in detention in Sweden on suspicion of khat smuggling. The man regularly brought big sums to Dubai and from there it was transferred to al-Shabab in Somalia. "We earned with the smuggling about 20,000 euro a week. We sent this to al-Shabaab."

The informal banking system Hawalah was used for the transactions.

The Netherlands and the UK are the only Western countries where it is legal to import khat. Four airplanes with khat come to Schiphol airport every week, bringing in 20 tons of khat. According to an estimate of the Swedish police - who speaks of well organized criminal organizations - 80% of it is then smuggled into neighboring countries. It's estimated that the smuggling brings in 60 to 150 million euro.

Drugs expert Stefan Kalman of the Swedish police investigated khat smuggling in the Netherlands and for quite a while had suspicions about the relationship between khat smuggling and al-Shabaab. "The khat trade is a mega-industry. It's a choice option for al-Shabab to get money."

Swedish EU parliament member Olle Schmidt recently spoke with his Dutch fraction members from the VVD and D66 about khat smuggling. So far without results. "The position of the Netherlands is a problem," says Schmidt. "I hope that this new information about the link with terrorism is a wake-up call for the Dutch government."

Source: Dit is de Dag (Dutch)

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