Taliban 2.0 and its self funding economic policy
6 July 2022
"According to an article of BBC, Taliban might be world’s richest terror group....."
Taliban recently hiked the coal prices and added 30% export duty on coal when Pakistan wanted to buy coal from Afghanistan. This one act has painted a clear and bright picture as to how the Taliban regime of Afghanistan wants to operate. After seeing the Haqqani involvement in Taliban government it was considered that the Taliban in Afghanistan will be a puppet government just like its previous governments. But the border issue with Pakistan, TTP activities in Pakistan, attack on Pakistani rangers on Afghanistan - Pakistan border and now this has confirmed that Taliban regime is an autonomous regime and not a mere puppet of Pakistan.
But then the question arises with whose support is the Taliban operating? As we know that a terror group holding and operating a country is not new. We have examples of Hezbollah, Hamas and The Muslim brotherhood. But then what makes Taliban different from them. Hezbollah, Hamas or Muslim brotherhood make a major portion of their funds through donations. The donors are individuals, organizations or even countries. Rest part of their funds is collected from weapon and drugs trade or even money laundering. The groups also have stakes in their respective local businesses. But still foreign donations remain dominant.
In case of Taliban, it is seen that they want to establish themselves as a government in Afghanistan. For that they are ready to build their own economic system. According to an article of BBC, Taliban might be world’s richest terror group. They too receive foreign donations from individuals and countries but the major portion of the income is self-earned. The prominent source is through drugs trade. Afghanistan’s opium business is on forefront. The next income source is minerals. Afghanistan is rich in minerals. But its deposits aren’t exploited much due to no stability in central governing system. Prominent among it is coal. Taliban exports coal. The recent incident told us how they are willing to monetise the coal business. The last is extortion rackets. Taliban also runs extortion rackets. Collectively if we look at this, then we can understand how Taliban funds itself.
Moreover, they seem to be learning and understanding the local politics of Asia. They maintained relations with regional powers like Bharat, China and Russia. There was a genocide of Hazaras after Taliban took over Afghanistan. But Iran didn’t say a word. This shows their relations with Iran. Taliban gave a limited access to China in the region. Even they understood to maintain a safe distance from Chinese but some Asian nations destroyed themselves by hugging China. Taliban maintained diplomatic relations with Bharat. Recently foreign secretary of Bharat visited Afghanistan and had a word with their Foreign Minister.
Bharat sent humanitarian aid to earthquake hit people of Afghanistan. Bharat looks towards Central Asia as an opportunity. Afghanistan is not different. Taliban looks towards Bharat for its technology which will help them in mining the minerals. Bharat gains minerals and labour.
Maybe Taliban has learned a lesson from the past, that any power which relies on foreign support fades away after the support is withdrawn. We have seen Afghan Governments falling after the foreign support was withdrawn. Then it might be the soviet government of 1980 or the later government supported by United States or even Northern Alliance. All faded away once they lost the foreign support.
Now let us see why Taliban took this decision of narrowing down towards Pakistan.
1) Taliban wants money and it knows Pakistan has no other option. Pakistan is already going through economic crisis. They do not have dollars also they cannot afford investing in dollars. They cannot go to any other country. Afghanistan is ready to trade in local currency.
2) Pakistan has an option of African countries. But for that it has to invest in Chinese Yuan, because Africa uses CIPS (Cross – Border Interbank Payment System). But Pakistan already has a huge amount of debt.
So, it was indeed a very smart move from Taliban. It also seems to be difficult that they did it on a request from China because China wants Pakistan to invest in Yuan and buy coal from Africa.
3. Cross-Border Interbank Payment System https://g.co/kgs/tXw8Wx
4. Hamas - https://g.co/kgs/dw9iLC
5. National Counter Terrorism Guide - https://www.dni.gov/nctc/groups/hamas.html
6. Hezbollah - https://g.co/kgs/hJ4G2h
7. Muslim Brotherhood - https://g.co/kgs/B7bzvj
11. Pakistan Economic Crisis - https://theconversation.com/pakistan-how-an-economic-crisis-has-sent-prices-rocketing-185335