Al Qaeda Commander Strapped for Cash, Asks Turkish Muslims to Send Money

Al Qaeda's top commander in Afghanistan urged Turkish Muslims in a new audio message Wednesday to send money to militants fighting coalition troops in the country, saying they are low on funds.

Mustafa Abu al-Yazeed said many militants in Afghanistan are unable to fight because they lack the necessary equipment.

"And we, here in Afghanistan, are needy of money," said al-Yazeed. "And the reason for the weakness of the operations here is the inadequacy of equipment."

The authenticity of the audio message could not be verified, but it appeared on Web sites often used by Al Qaeda.

Experts believe Islamic militants in Afghanistan receive most of their funding from wealthy donors and charities in the oil-rich Gulf and from the illegal drug trade inside the country.

The U.S. has tried to crack down on those funding sources by urging Gulf governments to better police the flows of money and by engaging in counter-narcotic operations inside Afghanistan.

President Barack Obama plans to send thousands of additional troops to Afghanistan this year in an effort to reverse the momentum of Al Qaeda and Taliban militants.