Al-Qaeda's Mundane Life Revealed via Receipts

Terrorist group likes meat and tomatoes, spends a lot at hardware stores

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 30, 2013 7:56 AM CST

(Newser) – Even terrorists have to get the car fixed, and the AP takes a look at al-Qaeda's mundane day-to-day via some 100 receipts and invoices found in a Timbuktu building occupied by its North African branch. Turns out the terrorist group keeps close tabs on its dollars and cents. Some highlights:

  • Groceries: One receipt shows al-Qaeda apparently goes heavy on the meat (six entries for $6.30) and tomatoes (three entries for $2.40). And they might like a barbecue: They dropped $1.40 on charcoal.

  • Repairs to Cheikh Abou Youssouf's House: The group lists "Daily labor costs for cleaning the house and paying the security guards" at $14, and spent $10.40 on air conditioner repairs.
  • Funding the Islamic Tribunal: The Tribunal hands out sentences including public amputations for theft, and paid each of its five members $20 a month in financial aid, spent $20 a month on a secretary, and $16 a month on a janitor who also served tea.
  • Fighter advances: One receipt reads thusly: "In the name of Allah, the most Clement, I gave Omar Mohamed Abou Khalid, the emir of Tashara Zarho, 460,000 fcfa ($920) for his monthly expenses from September 21, 2012 to October 21, 2012 for 34 soldiers." It's signed by the fighter.
  • Car trouble: Under "Expenses for repairing Nafe's Car" are a lot of food expenses, suggesting to the AP that mechanics were employed for extended periods. Among them: "Telephone credit—$140; General needs—$60; Milk, 1 carton—$52; Oil (1)—$8; Macaroni (1)—$9; Spaghetti (1)—$9; 20 cartons of tea—$12; Sugar (1)—$52; 2 soaps—$1.60; 2 kilograms of tomatoes—$1.60; 4 kilograms of onions—$1.60."

A list of advances for top leaders of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, including Yahya Abou el-Hammam, the head of operations for al-Qaeda in the Sahara Desert.
A list of advances for top leaders of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, including Yahya Abou el-Hammam, the head of operations for al-Qaeda in the Sahara Desert.   (Uncredited)
This receipt for car expenses is one of more than 100 receipts and invoices that show al-Qaeda intent on documenting even the most minor expenses.
This receipt for car expenses is one of more than 100 receipts and invoices that show al-Qaeda intent on documenting even the most minor expenses.   (Uncredited)
This receipt for groceries, which includes tomatoes, onions, charcoal, meat, and a lightbulb, was retrieved from a building occupied by al-Qaeda’s North African branch in Timbuktu, Mali.
This receipt for groceries, which includes tomatoes, onions, charcoal, meat, and a lightbulb, was retrieved from a building occupied by al-Qaeda’s North African branch in Timbuktu, Mali.   (Uncredited)
This receipt for house-cleaning equipment and labor, air conditioner repairs, and security guards, was retrieved from a building occupied by al-Qaeda’s North African branch in Timbuktu, Mali.
This receipt for house-cleaning equipment and labor, air conditioner repairs, and security guards, was retrieved from a building occupied by al-Qaeda’s North African branch in Timbuktu, Mali.   (Uncredited)
This document retrieved from a building occupied by al-Qaeda’s branch in Timbuktu, outlines the budget for an Islamic Tribunal, which handed down sentences, including public amputations for theft.
This document retrieved from a building occupied by al-Qaeda’s branch in Timbuktu, outlines the budget for an Islamic Tribunal, which handed down sentences, including public amputations for theft.   (Uncredited)
A signed advance to al-Qaeda fighters: In the name of Allah, I gave Omar Mohamed Abou Khalid 460,000 fcfa ($920) for his monthly expenses from September 21, 2012 to October 21, 2012 for 34 soldiers.
A signed advance to al-Qaeda fighters: "In the name of Allah, I gave Omar Mohamed Abou Khalid 460,000 fcfa ($920) for his monthly expenses from September 21, 2012 to October 21, 2012 for 34 soldiers."   (Uncredited)
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