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Mon Apr 26, 2021, 09:51 PM

Millions in Taliban Taxes Show Who's in Charge as U.S. Departs

(Bloomberg) -- Running a business in Afghanistan has one unspoken rule: Pay the Taliban.

Abdul Ahad Wahidi learned that the hard way when insurgents blew up a gas pipeline last year that fuels the country’s only fertilizer plant after its operator refused to pay up. Now he and other workers at the factory fork over 14% of their wages to the Taliban -- nearly five times more than they pay the government in taxes.

“The government can’t protect the pipeline, which forced us to compromise with the government’s enemy,” said Wahidi, who heads the labor union at the plant in northern Afghanistan. “Paying a part of our revenues to the Taliban is much better than the closure of the factory.”

That’s just one example of the vast array of hostile arrangements forced on Afghan businesses by the Taliban, which controls or contests more than half the country. The group collects as much as $1.5 billion a year from similar mafia-like deals, control over the drug trade and donations from abroad, a United Nations Security Council report said last year. That’s equal to roughly 25% of the government’s annual budget.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/millions-in-taliban-taxes-show-whos-in-charge-as-us-departs/ar-BB1g3Rhl

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