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Field Research to Assess the Risk of Indirect Terrorist Financing (Afghanistan)


Prompted by a concerning public report, our client sought our help to investigate the potential risks associated with indirect terrorist financing and corruption in the sourcing of ore from Afghanistan.


Our investigation process was thorough and multifaceted, involving the following key components:

  • Assessment and review of the ore supply chain We initiated the project by thoroughly assessing and reviewing our client's internal understanding of the ore supply chain originating from Afghanistan. This included pinpointing the exact locations of mines within Afghanistan.
  • Engagement with the main supplier We engaged with our client's primary supplier, which operated from a neighbouring country and was responsible for sourcing the ore from Afghanistan. This engagement involved a meticulous audit of the supplier's supply chain controls to identify potential vulnerabilities.
  • Design of the investigation process We designed a comprehensive investigation process and prepared a field team for deployment to Afghanistan and neighbouring countries. Our preparations included extensive training for the field team in safe and secure research methodologies. We also formulated pre-deployment health, safety, and security protocols to ensure the well-being of our team members.
  • Deployment of field teams Our field teams were deployed to various mine sites in Afghanistan and to the supplier's location. Their mission was to collect evidence from the mine sites and observe the activities of armed groups operating in the area. Additionally, they tracked the movement of ore along truck and donkey routes, tracing it from the mine sites in Afghanistan through highways into neighbouring countries. We also identified armed group spheres of control and associated checkpoints along these routes.
  • Data assessment and corroboration The data collected in the field was assessed and cross-referenced with additional information obtained from various online databases, including those containing information on wanted individuals and persons under UN sanctions. This process allowed us to identify potential risks within the patronage systems surrounding the different mines and transport routes, both in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries.
  • Reporting and client briefing We compiled a comprehensive report summarising our findings and insights. Subsequently, we presented these findings to our client's Board, providing them with a clear understanding of the risks. We also assisted the client in formulating a strategic approach for engagement with the Government of Afghanistan.


Our investigation resulted in a ground-truthed assessment of risks associated with the ore supply chain under consideration.