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Taliban tax collectors help tighten insurgents’ grip in Afghanistan

Taliban tax collectors help tighten insurgents’ grip in Afghanistan

KABUL: Every two months, Mohammaddin visits a tax collector in Chardara district, in northern Afghanistan, and is given receipts to show he has paid his tax and utility bills.

The service is professional, he says, though the paperwork he receives does not bear the name of state-owned power company Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat, which provides the electricity, but instead carries the printed logo of the Taliban.

“Given the strictness of Taliban regarding implementation of their rules and regulations, I think they raise more from tax collection than the Afghan government,” said Mohammaddin, a resident of the district outside Kunduz city, which is largely under Taliban control despite repeated operations by government forces to try to push the insurgents back. “They have proper tax collection and people cannot disobey them in areas they control.”

How much of Afghanistan is under effective Taliban control is disputed, but there is little doubt it has been growing and the insurgents are increasing their presence in the everyday lives of millions of ordinary Afghans such as Mohammaddin.