Taliban raises funds from drugs, taxes, mysterious sponsors, says expert

·2-min read
Representative Image
Representative Image

Kabul [Afghanistan], September 1 (ANI): The Taliban over the years has learned to raise funds not only by trafficking opium and heroin, but also by imposing taxes on controlled territories, demanded tribute from transport companies and mobile operators, and also receiving money from Pakistan and the Gulf countries.

Ksenia Melnikova, writing in The Frontier Post said that the Taliban, who came to power in Afghanistan has also gained control over the country's economy.

The funds raised by the Taliban turns out to more than one and a half billion dollars a year. Is this enough to fill the state treasury, RIA Novosti figured out, reported The Frontier Post.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) ranks Afghanistan as the largest opium producer in the world. Last year, the poppy harvest there increased by 37 per cent. The total area of fields sown with this crop is 263 thousand hectares - an absolute record.

The drug business brings the Taliban, according to UNODC estimates, USD 400 million a year.

For a long time, it was the main source of income for them. But in recent years, the situation has changed - the Islamists have diversified their economy, said Melnikova.

One of the leaders of the movement, Mullah Mohammed Yakub, the son of the founder of the group, Mullah Omar, called on to look for other ways to earn money. The outfit began to purposefully seize regions rich in mineral resources, reported The Frontier Post.

There are many minerals in Afghanistan - copper, bauxite, iron ore, marble, scarce lithium. There is gold. All this is estimated at several trillion dollars. Many deposits are still intact. Those who ended up in the hands of the militants bring in over USD 460 million a year. According to The Financial Times, the buyers are mostly private companies from China, Pakistan and the UAE.

In May, the UN reported that the Taliban's annual income is between USD 300 million and USD 1.6 billion. They collected 160 million in taxes alone last year. Capturing provinces, the Islamists devastated the local treasury, appropriated weapons and armoured vehicles, and also took money from businesses and the population.

They introduced a ten per cent tax and utility bills (two million a year brought only electricity), demanded a tribute for the transit of goods and tried to get into any business. A separate item is the supply of fuel, cigarettes, food, medicine, and basic necessities reported The Frontier Post.

In addition, the Taliban are being helped from abroad, said Melnikova. (ANI)

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