Taliban had their rule over Afghanistan from 1996-2001 after that US took over. After fighting for over 20 years following thousands of death they are back in power. Taliban have a military of 70,000-100,000 where as they started with only 30,000 forces a decades ago. As we see there is huge manpower growth and with that increases the cost of weapons and army.
Ever wondered from where do Taliban makes money? How does the Taliban gets funding? Sounds ridiculous question right? But what if I say the Taliban is not only an insurgent group but also a financial institution. It is estimated that the annual income of the Taliban must be $400 million to $1.5 billion.
What are the four major resources from where the Taliban gets funding?
1. Opium:- There is a huge demand for opium in the world. It is said that 15 million people worldwide are addicted to opium that is heroin. From the estimated portal now it comes out that 85% of heroin in the world is exported from Afghanistan. Heroin has a huge demand in the country such as China and Russia. Afghanistan earns $3Billion through opium export out of which 400 million is earned by Taliban.
2.Tax collection:- Afghanistan has a huge connectivity issue. To solve this crisis USA, Japan, and the UN decided to make a Ring Road subsequently even after 20 years they failed to complete the project. Major regions of that road were under the control of the Taliban so whenever a farmer passes the road they are liable to pay taxes. Even today Taliban charges taxes on infrastructure and development projects including schools, roads, clinics, etc. Though these developments are for Afghanistan but projects are fully taxable and are collected by the Taliban.
3.Mines and minerals:- As we all are aware of the upcoming demand for electric vehicles in the future market. The EV batteries of such electric cars are made through lithium that is their main raw material. There is an extensive lithium reserve in Afghanistan US Department of Defense named Afghanistan “Saudi Arabia of lithium”. Major defense and electronic materials are made from minerals that are available in Afghanistan it is estimated that over 60 million tons of copper are in Afghanistan. It is said that over 1.4 million tons of rare earth minerals are found in Afghanistan whose value is over $3 trillion.
3.Foreign donation:- Pakistan Iran and Russia are the major donors of Afghanistan according to the reports of CIA 106 million dollar funding is estimated in the past year outside Afghanistan which is said to be donated by gulf countries. Although it has been impossible to estimate the exact value in the ratio of their income experts say that their value is nearly $500m a year.
After win over Afghanistan Taliban government is looking forward to more funds which would be majorly focused on the minerals in Afghanistan that include iron, copper, ore, marble, scare, and gold. According to the reports of BBC sources, it is said that the Taliban is funded by the private sectors in Qatar, The UAE, and Saudi Arabia who donate nearly $500 million per year.
Edited by Sanjana Simlai.