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Where do the Taliban get their money from and how rich are they?

New Delhi: Once again, after 20 years of violent conflict, Afghanistan is now in the Taliban’s grip, and on Sunday (August 15), a spokesman for the Taliban’s political office declared that the war was over and called for peaceful relations with the international community. As thousands desperately tried to leave the capital Kabul and Afghan resident Ashraf Ghani quickly abandoned the presidential palace and fled, the rebels declared the country an “Islamic Emirate”. The Taliban took over the country, even before the United States formally withdrew from the site.Read also – 3 ITBP dogs guarding the Indian embassy in Kabul return home waiting for a new role in Chhattisgarh

And days after the takeover, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has announced that it is blocking Afghanistan’s access to the emergency reserve worth $ 460 million, as the Taliban’s control of the country has created uncertainty about the country’s future. The decision was made under increasing pressure from the international community, including the US Treasury Department. Also read – ECB to review security for England’s tour of Pakistan amid Afghanistan conflict

When we talk about funds, some curiosity about how the Taliban make its money and keep filling its coffers has become another topic of discussion now. For even after two decades of US and NATO military presence in Afghanistan, the Taliban have not been weakened at all, let alone erased. And if anything has happened, it is that the rebel group has returned richer and more powerful compared to the time when their fundamentalist Islamic regime was overthrown by US forces in 2001. Read also – Ashraf Ghani allegedly led Kabul with 169 million dollars, claims Afghanistan’s ambassador to Tajikistan

How wealthy are the Taliban and who finances them?

According to reports, the Taliban group has a $ 2.3 billion fund for its fight in Afghanistan, with millions coming in from opium and heroin trafficking, drugs, donations, extortion, illegal mining and real estate. Annually, the Taliban has revenues of over $ 1.5 billion.

Cesar Gudes, head of the Kabul office of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), recently told the news agency Reuters“The Taliban has counted the Afghan opium trade as one of their main sources of revenue,” Cesar Gudes, head of the Kabul office of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), told Reuters. “More production brings medicines at a cheaper and more attractive price and therefore a wider availability.”

A confidential report prepared by NATO and later leaked Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty The Taliban has expanded its financial power in recent years through increased profits from drug trafficking, illicit mining and exports, the report said, estimating that the group earned a staggering $ 1.6 billion in its final fiscal year (ending March 2020). ). ”

“This economic independence allows the Afghan Taliban to self-finance its uprising without the need for support from governments or citizens of other countries,” said the annual report, based on interviews with senior Taliban agents, Afghan officials and foreign experts. .

The report, written last year by journalist Lynne O’Donnell, warned: “Unless global steps are taken, the Taliban will remain a hugely prosperous organization with a self-sustaining flow of funding and external support from regional countries.”

Meanwhile another report from the UN in June 2021 has indicated that the Taliban’s financial support mostly stems from “donations from wealthy individuals and a network of non-governmental charitable foundations”.

The UN report read: “The main sources of Taliban funding continue to be criminal activities, including drug trafficking and opium poppy production, extortion, kidnapping for ransom, mineral exploitation and revenues from tax collection in Taliban-controlled areas.
or influence. According to Member States, external financial support, including donations from wealthy individuals and a network of non-governmental charities, also accounts for a significant share of the Taliban’s income. Although it is impossible to determine to any degree of precision, estimates of annual revenue generated by the Taliban range from $ 300 million to $ 1.6 billion. ”

Afghan officials reported that of all mining zones, government control expanded to only 281, which were located across 16 provinces. A further 148 zones in 12 provinces were under the control of local warlords, while the Taliban were assessed to have authority over the remaining 280 zones scattered among 26 provinces. The Taliban derived income from mining directly under their control and are estimated to have additional revenue from at least some of the mining areas controlled by the warlords. There is no information indicating how many actual mines operate in each zone that are not under government control, nor is there any reliable method of measuring quantities extracted from individual mines daily, ”it added.

Several media reports have also suggested that the Taliban in various parts of the country had also implemented some form of taxation, known as ‘ushr’. A UN report in September 2012 said that this tax was 10 percent tax on harvest and 2.5 percent tax on wealth.

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