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Afghanistan: How do the Taliban Make Money?

Friday, September 17, 2021

/ by mansuralisaha


 The News Cover: Across the world there are many terrorist groups. However the richest among them is the Taliban. The USA & Afghan government were at war with the Taliban. The war raged on for 20 years as the Taliban put up a strong fight. Since the US army called back its troops, the Afghan government was toppled by the Taliban. Shockingly the Taliban had assumed control over Afghanistan Many of you might have wondered where do the Taliban get their money from and how much cash do they have. Now let me tell you. The UN estimated that the group's annual income from 2011 onwards has been around $400m. According to BBC News starting from 2018 their income increased to as much as $1.5bn a year. It is billion and not million. Wow! Isn't that too much! BBC interviews carried out inside Afghanistan and abroad found that the Taliban's unbelieveable wealth is because of the Taliban's sophisticated Tax system. 

This tax collection system is responsible for their immense wealth. Let me tell you about it. 1. The Taliban has been receiving a lot of funds. Several Afghan and US government officials have long wondered where the Taliban got money to buy weapons because they did not have a business. Officials then found that Pakistan, Iran, and Russia were given financial aid to the Taliban. However, Pakistan, Russia& Iran have always denied this accusation. The Taliban conduct a lot of extortion activities. One of which is collecting tax. The reason for the immense wealth is because they have been taxing various traders. They even earn a lot through the drug trade, the sale of precious gems, and multiple other sources. 

According to some experts, their annual income by as much as $500m a year. 2. Afghanistan is the world's largest producer of opium, which is a narcotic plant. Similar to how India is the largest producer of Milk in the world. India is the largest producer of milk and manufactures multiple milk products as well. Similar Opium can be found next to various streets. Hence, Afghanistan is the world's largest producer of opium. When farmers sell this Opium to laboratories, they have to give 10% of the sales to the Taliban as tax. When these laboratories convert the opium to heroin and sell it to the drug traffickers, they again have to give a part of the sales as tax to the Taliban. When these traffickers sell the drugs, they too have to pay a part of the sales as a form of tax. 

These are the Taliban's 3 sources of income through drugs and the income ranges from $100m-$400m. By merely twiddling their thumbs, they make such a huge profit. How shocking! The drug trade accounts for up to 60% of the Taliban's annual revenue. This is what funds their militia. 3. The Taliban warned Afghan fuel and construction traders to pay tax on all their imports and exports. 4. Taliban have taxed development and infrastructure projects - including roads, schools, and clinics - mostly funded by the USA. They make death threats and impose strict punishments if the tax is not paid. 5. Afghanistan contained a majority of US military bases but even the UK, Germany, etc also had military bases to support the Afghan government against the Taliban. 

These military bases were supplied arms by air and flights. The military equipment then has to be transported to the foreign bases by way of the road as they are situated in the interiors of Afghanistan. The Taliban have taxed truckers who transport the equipment to the military base. This form of frequent taxation had made them very strong. 6. Earlier the Afghan government controlled all the states and cities. There was stiff opposition from the Taliban. However, whenever the Taliban captured any area and toppled the local government, the terrorists capture cars, important documents, money, etc. Not a single item was let go by them. 

Now that the Taliban has come back to power and gained control over Afghanistan, with the government surrender, the terrorists have taken over all essential items. 7. Afghanistan is rich in minerals and precious stones. The Afghan government had no control as the Taliban excavated these illegally and have made a lot of money through sales. You have now learned about the Taliban's various sources of income in the 7 points. Their immensely wealthy because of which they are able to fund their militia without any stress. Earlier I had told you about the Taliban's annual income which was $400-$500 million & then it increased ton $1bn. Now that they taken power, their income might just go up to thousands of billion dollars. With the increased wealth, there may also be an increase in their destructive powers.

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