Afghan Taliban start collecting taxes on key Pakistani border crossing
Islamabad, Jul 28 (EFE).- The Afghan Taliban has started collecting taxes on goods crossing Afghanistan’s border crossing with Pakistan at Chaman, according to official sources Wednesday.
Pakistan reopened Monday its Chaman crossing point which had been shut since the Taliban captured the area adjoining it on the Afghan side two weeks ago.
“The Taliban imposed new tariffs and started collecting taxes on goods going to Afghanistan or coming into Pakistan,” a Frontier Constabulary official at the Chaman crossing point told EFE on the condition of anonymity.
Pakistan had shut its border after heavy fighting between the Taliban and Afghan government forces in Spin Boldak district on the Afghan side two weeks ago.
The Taliban has taken full control of the Spin Boldak border crossing after the fighting. The crossing point was briefly opened during the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha a week ago.
“Pakistan formally reopened Chaman border on Monday after consulting the Talibans on the Afghan side who now have full control of the border point,” the official said.
The Taliban have issued a new tariff list for different trade goods.
The traders, however, need to pay taxes twice, first to the Taliban on the border point and then to the Afghan government when the goods reach Kandahar, the headquarters of the southern province by the same name.
“Taliban have issued a 20-page tax document which mentions new tariffs they have imposed on different goods,” Pakistan Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s vice president Imran Khan Kakar told EFE.
Spin Boldak is among the major border crossings in Afghanistan, providing the landlocked country with road access to the Karachi sea port.
According to Kakar around 1,000 trucks carrying goods went through the crossing on a regular day.
“The trucks have now reduced to 100 per day because of the security situation but the Taliban are now able to generate revenues through taxes,” said Kakar.
“The Taliban are not the problem as they are not making any hurdles but we are paying double taxes, one to the Taliban and second to the Afghan government. This is not justified,” Kakar said.
The Taliban have in recent days seized major border crossings in Afghanistan.
The radical Islamic group ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until their ouster in 2001 by the United States and the allied forces.
The group has increased attacks and captured a large amount of territory in the war-torn country since the foreign forces formally started pulling out in early May. EFE