Afghanistan stands amongst one of the poorest countries in the world owing to its political instability and improper administration. But, do you know that the Taliban are decently wealthy? According to a leaked report, their approximate yearly income comes to around $1.6 billion.
There are no official reports of audits presented for the quarterly or yearly income of the Taliban. But, several media, government, or private reports are made on it.
It often gets difficult to list the earning sources. Still, we have listed some of their major sources of Taliban’s earnings below:
1. Bank- After taking over Afghanistan, the Taliban also took the control of Afghan banks. When the financial assets were frozen by the US and the Taliban took over, the people were running on the streets in Kabul to take their money. The Taliban appointed an official Haji Mohammad Idris to oversee the situation as the head of Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB). His system is controversial and complicated, operated by the Taliban for the last 2 decades.
2. Donations- The 15% (more than $240 million) of income by the Taliban is made by donations. There are affluent sponsors in Pakistan, Iran, Russia, and other gulf countries. These countries unofficially give financial resources to the Taliban. From this, the Taliban gets $106 million from middle east countries.
3. Individual donations- Many Individual citizens from the countries of Pakistan, Iran, Qatar, UAE, and Saudi Arabia, etc give donations to the Taliban. These donations make a total of nearly $500 million every year. Taliban leader Sirajuddin Haqqani’s wife is also one of them. She sends $60 million annually from Saudi Arabia. Many mosques and Madrasas also contribute to The Taliban.
4. Drug trade- Afghanistan is the largest producer of opium in the world that is refined into heroin. The Taliban earns nearly $1.5 to $3 billion through opium exports globally. Some Afghan officials report that a 10% collection tax is gathered from opium cultivation. Tax is gathered from the laboratory where opium is converted and traders take the stocks from there for illegal smuggling. 60% of Taliban revenue comes from the Drug trade.
5. Mining- Apart from drugs, Afghanistan is rich in natural minerals and precious stones. The minerals were not extracted much in the past due to political instability. Still, now there are small quantities of illegal mineral extraction. The Taliban took control of mining activities, generating finances. There are minerals like Iron ore, marble, copper, gold, zinc found in Afghanistan. Even the mining companies of both small and large scale pay a good amount of profits to the Taliban for running their business. Otherwise, their work is hindered or they receive death threats. NATO estimates that the Taliban earns $464 million from it.
6. Extortion- Just like any other government in the world, the Taliban also imposes a good amount of taxes for running businesses in Afghanistan. Mining, Media, Telecommunications, development projects, international organizations, industries, etc are taxed. Even Drivers need to pay tax for Travelling on roads and Highways under the Taliban. The shopkeepers need to pay taxes for running their shop in a Taliban-occupied area. There are Islamic taxes called “ushr” and “zakat”. Ushr involves paying 10% by farmers for their harvest. Zakat involves giving Rs. 2.5% wealth tax that brings up to $160 million annually along with extortion.
So, the Taliban is earning decently from its financial sources. Now, it will be necessary to watch the plan of action by the Taliban to run the administration and manage the finances of Afghanistan. They have a big challenge to handle the finances of one of the most developed countries in the world.