Osama bin Laden papers: top 5 revelations

A new trove of letters seized during the Osama bin Laden raid paint an intimate picture of the inner workings and struggles of Al Qaeda, from its dabbling in the stock market to practices that would make any Mafia don proud.

3. The dilemma of drug money

Rahmat Gul/AP
An Afghan policeman destroys an opium poppy field in Alingar, Laghman Province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan.

“Is it permitted to strike drug traffickers, eliminate them, and kill them, or not?” is the straightforward query of an Al Qaeda member. He struggles with the ethics of using money gained by such means, because drug use is forbidden in Islam. But he also notes a “technicality.” Perhaps, he wonders, it is “permitted to take funds which they have gained from drug trafficking” for the use of “luring fallen addicts to serve as double agents against the Jews” or “bringing down Jewish soldiers, particularly border guards, by means of drugs.”

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