Taliban in Baghlan have established an elaborate system for collecting and documenting taxes from the locals. They are not only collecting taxes, but providing tax-payers receipts documented on official letter heads with Taliban logo, reports Paiwandgāh Citizen Journalist.
Baghlan province connects nine northern and north-eastern provinces through the Salang highway and has recently been witnessing a rise in Taliban activity.
Some of farmers in Ghorbandi area of Pol-e-Khumri also claim to have been paying taxes to the Taliban. “They take taxes called Oshr from wheat and give them “official receipts” in return,” the citizen journalist informed.
As part of the Oshr or religious tax, Muslims are required to pay 1/10 of their harvests to poor people and Mullahs.
But these farmers inform that they are forced to give 10% of every 7kg of their wheat to the Taliban. They claim that since the start of the harvest, they have already given thousands of kilograms wheat to Taliban. Those farmers who refuse to pay these taxes are presented to “committee” set up by the Taliban for the purpose of punishing offenders, informed Obaid, a Afghan Local Police Commander from Pol-e-Khumri. While they are being threatened, no one has yet faced the punishments.
General Abdul Jabar Pordili, the new police chief of Baghlan admits that the Taliban has indeed imposed tax, including religious taxes, in this province. However, he assured the matter was being looked into and would soon be resolved.
It is estimated that close to a 100 villages in central Baghlan, Barka and Pol-e-Khumri are under the control of the Taliban.
[Update – July 1, 2015 2.30pm]
Following a question on logistics by one of our readers, our citizen journalist provided an update on the Taliban practices. He informs that while the Taliban members demand for Oshr tax to be paid out of the farmer’s harvests, they are in fact collecting money equal to the cost of the wheat. Since they are not allowed to collect money as tax, for the sake of technicalities, they consider it as selling the wheat they acquired from a farmer, back to the same farmer at a certain cost, citizen journalist explains.
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