Al-Qaeda Receipts Reveal Meticulous Accounting Habits

$0.60 cake, $1.80 for a bar of soap

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This receipt for groceries, which includes prices paid for tomatoes, onions, charcoal, meat and a lightbulb, was retrieved from a building occupied by al-Qaeda's North African branch in Timbuktu, Mali

Documents discovered in a former al-Qaeda-linked building in Timbuktu, in northern Mali, reveal just how obsessive the international terrorist group can be when it comes to one thing: accounting.

More than 100 receipts were among documents found in a building previously occupied by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb earlier this year, the Associated Press reports. The group recorded everything from $0.60 cake to $200 for a “trip for spreading propaganda.” The cache of documents included 27 invoices for meat, 13 for tomatoes, 11 for milk, 11 for pasta, seven for onions and more for tea, sugar and honey.

The receipts, written in Arabic on scraps of paper and Post-it notes, are indicative of how the terrorist group runs its many chapters like an international corporation. Other items listed include $1.80 for a bar of soap, $14 for super glue, as well as money reserved for “charity.”

Al-Qaeda is also notorious for other corporate-world documentation, like budget maintenance, job applications, public-relations advice and letters from a human-resources-type division.

The names on receipts also suggest a majority of the terrorist group’s employees were foreign-born. For example, receipts were recorded for “Talhat the Libyan” or “Tarek the Algerian.”