Title: SIGINT Helps Hobble the Taleban by Cutting Off Their Livelihood

Release Date: 2014-12-28

Document Date: 2009-02-03

Description: A post from the internal NSA newsletter SIDToday shows that, as of 2008, “narcotics traffickers were added to the Joint Prioritized Effects List (JPEL) for the first time”: see the Der Spiegel article Obama’s Lists: A Dubious History of Targeted Killings in Afghanistan, 28 December 2014.

Document: SIDToday - SIGINT Helps Hobble the Taleban by Cutting Off Their Livelihood

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• SIDtodav Article

• Letter to the Editor

• SIGINT-v Social Media Page

(S//SI//REL) SIGINT Helps Hobble the Taleban by Cutting Off Their

Livelihood

Chief, NSA Georgia, Southwest Asia Narcotics Division (FGS2F)
Run Date: 02/03/2009

L (U) Afghans prepare to
burn seized opium (AFP)

(S//SI//REL) Editor's summary: SIGINT provides the
"dope" on the Taleban's reliance on the narcotics

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SIDToday - SIGINT Helps Hobble the Taleban by Cutting Off Their Livelihood

0 (U) Afghans prepare to trade for money and support, prompting US and
burn seized opium (AFP) Coalition leaders to expand their efforts to shut it

down.,, SIGINT supports a number of successes,
including the largest single seizure of drugs in
history, with the pace of counter-drug operations
increasing rapidly.

(S//SI//REL) A recent UN report estimates that the narcotics "industry" in
Afghanistan and Pakistan contributes $300 million annually to the Taleban. To
attack this narcotics - insurgency nexus, NSA Georgia's Southwest Asia Narcotics
Divisioin (SWAN - FGS2F) has worked closely with a number of colleagues,*
focusing on narcotics trafficking networks that provide funding, weapons, and
logistical support to Taleban elements in Afghanistan.

(S//SI//REL) The resulting SIGINT reporting, along with reporting from
other Intelligence Community elements, made clear to national and theater
leadership that the insurgency could not be defeated without disrupting
the narcotics trade. Additionally, some narcotics traffickers have been identified
as active insurgent commanders, directing their own fighters in attacks against the
coalition, and procuring weapons and improvised explosive device (IED) materials.

(S//SI//REL) In May 2008, FGS2F began providing
real-time support to counternarcotics operations
targeting processing laboratories, traffickers'
compounds, and the traffickers themselves as they were
on the move. Among the operations supported in
whole or in part by FGS2F was the largest single
seizure of drugs in history, according to DEA -- 237
metric tons of hashish. In all, FGS2F and its colleagues
at NSAW, FSU, and GCHQ has provided real-time
intelligence to over 20 counternarcotics operations, netting thousands of kilograms
of drugs, several detainees, and weapons.

(S//SI//REL) As 2009 approached, the narcotics trafficking - insurgency nexus
gained prominence in ISAF's (International Security Assistance Force, i.e. NATO
forces in Afghanistan) plan to defeat the Taleban. Narcotics traffickers were added
to the Joint Prioritized Effects List (JPEL) for the first time, allowing them to be
targeted for strikes. In October 2008, NATO Defense Ministers agreed that
narcotics trafficking networks were legitimate targets for ISAF forces, due to the
traffickers' ties to the insurgency.

(S//SI//REL) ...And in December 2008, the Deputy
Commander for Security in ISAF's Regional Command -
South declared narcotics trafficking as his #1 priority.
Concurrent with these events, SIGINT replaced
HUMINT as the primary driver of counternarcotics
operations, thanks in large part to the efforts of an
FGS2F analyst embedded with the Interagency
Operations Coordination Center (IOCCC) in Kabul . By
the end of 2008, NSA/CSS Representative Afghanistan

L Taleban members
bear weapons in
snowy highlands of
Afghanistan (Reuters)

El (U//FOUO) Detainee
surrounded by opium
seized by Coalition
forces

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SIDToday - SIGINT Helps Hobble the Taleban by Cutting Off Their Livelihood

reported that 80% of all counternarcotics operations were now SIGINT-
driven. A year previously HUMINT was the driver for almost every operation.

(S//SI//REL) Despite its relatively small size (18 personnel as of January 2009),
FGS2F continues to be a prominent part of the fight against the narco-insurgency
in Afghanistan, even as customer needs climb rapidly:

• As of late January 2009, FGS2F was supporting an average of one
counternarcotics operation per week. By comparison, the last seven months of
2008 saw an average of just over one per month.

• Two counternarcotics operations supported by FGS2F in January 2009 netted
over 6 metric tons (6,000 kilograms) of opium, worth millions of dollars —
described by one trafficker as "a big loss." In 2008, by contrast, total opium
seizures measured only in the hundreds of kilograms.

• When one of FGS2F's primary targets. Mullah Multan, made a rare entry into
Afghanistan from Pakistan, NS AW and NSAG combined to work with forward
elements to have a strike conducted on Multan's convoy within hours of
identifying his presence. Though Multan survived the strike, he was driven
back to Pakistan and suffered the loss of over 3 tons of opium along with six of
his cohorts - a severe disruption to his narcotics network.

(S//SI//REL) SIGINT efforts to target the flow of narcotics trade funding to the
Taleban are paying real dividends by disrupting financing and logistical support
critical to the insurgency, saving lives and contributing to the Coalition's ability to
establish security throughout Afghanistan.

(U) A British ISAF soldier
photographs the destruction of
seized opium (Jane's)

(U) Notes:

*{S//SI//REL) These colleagues were located at NSAW, GCHQ, Field Station Utah
(FSU), the Joint Narcotics Analysis Centre - London, and the Interagency
Operations Coordination Center (IOCC) in Kabul.

(S//SI//REL) Editor's note: This article is reprinted from NSA Georgia's "Around
NSAG" newsletter. See also a related SID today article: "Customers Boosting
Presence in Afghanistan for 2009, and SIGINTers Are Doing the Same."

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SIDToday - SIGINT Helps Hobble the Taleban by Cutting Off Their Livelihood

"(U//FOUO) SIDtoday
articles may not be
republished or
reposted outside
NSANet without the
consent of SO 121
(DL sid commsl."
Information Owner:

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