Taliban taking control of coal routes; earns $13K daily

The Taliban has been increasing its presence on coal routes of mineral-rich northern Samangan province in Afghanistan and is charging trucks carrying coal, reported TOLOnews

Nov 13, 2020
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The Taliban has been increasing its presence on coal routes of mineral-rich northern Samangan province in Afghanistan and is charging trucks carrying coal, reported TOLOnews. 

Samangan province Governor Daud Kalakani said on Thursday the insurgent group has taken control of the routes on which trucks carrying coal from two mines in the region ply. 

The Taliban charges around $130 for each truck thus earning a profit of approximately $13000 in a day. 

Currently, there are two mines, Dara-e-Soof Bala and Dara-e-Soof Paeens, where the Taliban has taken control of the routes. The report says, 200 trucks from Dara-e-Soof mines head to Mazar-e-Sharif, a northern city, on a daily basis where the group extracts $130 from each truck. 

Earlier, hundreds of trucks used to export coals from these mines to Pakistan but stopped in the last two years as the insurgent group erected multiple checkpoints in the routes. 

The group’s growing economic clout within the country is a cause of worry for all the players involved in the Afghan conflict. Earlier a NATO confidential report, accessed and reported by the Radio Liberty, stated that the group is estimated to have earned a whopping $1.6 billion in the last financial year ending in March 2020. 

The same report also warned the insurgent group might have achieved the “financial independence” for sustaining the war and the insurgency through its own resources in Afghanistan. 

The situation, if true, would make the group “impervious” to “external pressure” necessary for forcing the group for political compromise to end the war. 

Afghanistan, a mineral-rich country, has yet to explore its resources fully. The Afghan government has tried to develop various mines in the country but failed in many cases due to insurgency and insecurity. 

Contrary to the objectives of the Afghan government, the Taliban overtake of mines not only keeps the government from accessing revenues but also increases its security dilemma as the insurgent group uses these finances to fund its insurgency. 

Previously, a SIGAR report also cited an example of a gold mine situated in northern Badakhshan province which was overtaken by the Taliban. Much to the dismay of the government, the group made a windfall from that mine.

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