Smuggled ciggies 'fund Taliban'

2009-06-29 21:08
Geneva - Cigarette and tobacco smuggling is financing militant or extremist groups such as the Pakistani Taliban and sapping about $40bn a year from government budgets, campaigners said on Monday.

The claims were made as 160 countries resumed talks at the World Health Organisation on expanding an international anti-smoking treaty to clamp down on the illicit trade in tobacco.

Apart from issues such as enforcement and co-ordination, the ten-day preparatory negotiations are also examining a possible halt to duty free sales of cigarettes or measures against internet sales, WHO documents showed.

An alliance of some 350 anti-tobacco campaign groups said in a statement that concerted action against the contraband and counterfeit cigarettes trade would far outweigh the $40.5bn in lost tax revenue.

657 billion cigarettes a year

Some 11.6% of the global cigarette market was illicit, equivalent to some 657 billion cigarettes a year, the International Union against Tobacco and Lung Disease estimated in a report.

Researchers also alleged that "half a dozen terrorist" or militant groups, including the Pakistani Taliban, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Hezbollah, leftwing FARC rebels in Colombia and the Real IRA in Northern Ireland, rely on black market tobacco for revenue.

"We believe that tobacco has been second only to drugs as a source of finance to the Pakistani Taliban," said David Kaplan, editorial director of the US-based Centre for Public Integrity.

His body also highlighted "smuggling hubs" in China, Paraguay and Ukraine, where either illegally produced counterfeits or contraband excess production from legal factories were fuelling black markets around the world.

It estimated that 80% of counterfeit cigarettes in the European Union and 99% of those sold on US streets were among the estimated 400 billion made illegally every year in China.

"Renegade factories, multinational companies and weak enforcement all play a role in fuelling this massive illegal trade, whose profits rival those of narcotics," said Bill Buzenberg, executive director of the Centre.

The WHO negotiations are aimed at expanding the 2003 Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, that strengthened measures against smoking.

- SAPA
Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  european union  |  taliban  |  world health organisation  |  united states  |  ukraine  |  china  |  colombia  |  paraguay  |  northern ireland
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 40% on outdoor accessories!

Tents, sleeping, day packs and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Month End Madness Sale!

Save up to 60% on across a wide range of goods from books to electronics, DVDs and many more. Sale end 31 January 2015. Shop now!

Valentine’s Day gifts – 14 Feb!

Gifts to spoil him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off fragrances

Get 30% off fragrances for him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off All Textbooks

Save up to 30% off an extensive range of prescribed textbooks for all major universities and FET colleges. Shop Now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It is easy to get bogged down by things today. The Taurus Moon highlights the comforts and pleasures of life. You may have the...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.