File Photo of Al Qaeda leaders. – Reuters

WASHINGTON: Pressured by scrutiny of terrorist money sources and strikes aimed at its financiers, Al Qaeda in Pakistan has turned to kidnapping for ransom to offset dwindling cash reserves, according to US officials and information  retrieved from Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound .

“There are clearly times for them when money is tight,” said Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. “We’ve seen that their donors have been less dependable and we’re seeing them turning more to kidnapping as a way of keeping the money coming in.”

Experts from the CIA’s National Counter-terrorism Centre, the Treasury Department and the FBI and military hope to identify important Al Qaeda donors, especially wealthy Persian Gulf figures who dealt with Bin Laden dating to his work with Afghan fighters in the campaign against Soviet occupiers in ’80s.

The Treasury Department’s acting undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, David Cohen, said: “Al Qaeda’s supporters ought to be wondering if their identities have been revealed.”—AP