Afghan Taliban openly collecting taxes from Afghan businessmen, media: Report

Afghan Taliban openly collecting taxes from Afghan businessmen, media: Report

GHAZNI CITY (Pajhwok): Afghan Taliban have been collecting ‘tax’ from media outlets, businessmen and common people in southern Ghazni province, government officials and affected people claimed on Tuesday.

Farid Umari, in charge of Ghaznavyano Private Television, told Pajhwok Afghan News he recently handed over 200,000 Pakistani rupees to the Taliban in tax.

“Initially the Taliban were demanding 400,000 afghanis but later they cut the amount half 200,000 rupees, which I gave them happily,” he said.

Umari did not say how he delivered the money to the Taliban, but added his life was under threat.

He said he had informed all security institutions about the Taliban demand but no one helped him.

Other media outlets in Ghazni had also been asked for money, but their owners wished not talk about the issue and even requested not publishing the names of their organizations.

Hassan Raza Yousufi, head of the Ghazni Provincial Council, said the Taliban were demanding similar taxes from businessmen as well.

“Businessmen, Provincial Council members, governor house officials and other individuals give taxes to the Taliban,” he claimed.

Yousufi said the Provincial Council members gave money to the Taliban in order to ensure their security while traveling to insecure areas.

According to him, if the Taliban demanded tax from someone and he refused, so his/her life is threatened.

Governor’s spokesman Mohammad Arif Noori confirmed the issue. “People should not pay taxes to Taliban because we have told them that we will ensure their security,” he said.

The Taliban acknowledged the tax issue. The group said they collected taxes from media outlets ‘country-wide through a proper system and plan.’