Taliban Funds Its Government by Extorting Money from a Hungry Population

The Taliban has no strategic plan to finance its government. Instead, it intends to fund its government by extorting money from the poorest people on earth.

The Economist has reported on the Taliban’s method of revenue generation. This report’s deceptive title has created misunderstandings. Some media outlets in Afghanistan, unfortunately, read only the headline and published short news stories indicating that the Taliban government has proved surprisingly good at raising money. Even the subtitle of the report, which reported on the role of the Taliban in letting the people starve, did not get much coverage in the news.

The Taliban are skilled at raising money, according to The Economist, but by extortion and ignoring the crises and leaving the civilians to starve. Raising money and repressing civilians is one of the most important social and political agendas of the group. Prior to taking over the Kabul administration, the Taliban used to raise  hundreds of millions of dollars from across Afghanistan each year through tithes, zakat, drug “taxes”, smuggling, kidnapping and extortion. The Taliban war machine ran with the support of foreign leaders but with the money of the hungry population. No one remembers that the group has built a bridge and a school in the areas under its control or provided health services to the deprived residents.

Taxes are different from extortion. Taxes are collected by mutual agreement of the people and the government to provide public services to taxpayers. Extortion, however, is one-sided and collected by force. The Taliban do not comply with the accepted social rule in collecting tithes, zakat and “taxes” and raise money to keep their war machine active, not to improve the living conditions of the people.

The Economist report cites other painful facts, including the fact that more than half of the country’s population is starving, and those who were considered middle class last year have fallen below average poverty line and can barely manage  one time  meal this year during the course of 24 hours. The group that has isolated the country and has expelled skilled labor and entrepreneurs now collects tens of millions of customs duties and taxes on flour, sugar, milk, fuel and clothing for the hungry. The group has invested the measurable amount of money on repressing the people instead of helping the people with the respective monies collected. In the first three fiscal months of this year, more than 50 percent of the Taliban’s revenue was reportedly appropriated on military and security.

Reducing bribery and corruption in revenue collection is also cited as one of the Taliban’s successes stories. There is also deception in this conclusion. Corruption and bribery were closely linked to insecurity and terrorism. The corrupt environment created in the past was the product of war and terrorism. Corruption and war were growing side by side. As terrorism grew stronger, so did corruption, and financial parasites had gained access to every single government department due to war and conflicts. Now that the Taliban opposition, like that group, is not destroying roads, setting schools on fire, beheading agents, obstructing the movement of goods and people across the country, the causes of corruption naturally decrease.

Sucking the blood of the hungry will not last very long. To harvest a sustainable crop, one must be kind to the earth. The burden of plowing, sowing, cultivating, and caring must be borne. The Taliban treat the people of Afghanistan as residents of a conquered land and think only of collecting booty, tithes, zakat and taxes. They have no experience in creating jobs, fighting poverty and providing public services, nor the group has any will of coping the realities of time and cooperating with the people go gain trust and ensure a suitable government.