Taliban Tax Collectors Seen as Key to Controlling Parts of Afghanistan

Taliban effectively governs much of the country

With the Afghan government controlling less and less of the country, there is a growing focus on how the Taliban is so successfully retaining its own control over much of the rest of Afghanistan. Locals say efficient tax collectors are a big part of the story.

Locals describe going to a Taliban tax collector every two months to pay both their taxes and their utility bills. They are given printed receipts with Taliban logos, and they say the service is very professional. More professional than the Afghan government, it is meant to be understood.

Since the 2001 US invasion and occupation, Afghanistan has regularly been among the most corrupt nations on the planet. Bribery is rampant, and policing is often arbitrary, and based on whatever agenda the local government-backed militia might have.

The Taliban, by contrast, gives all the appearance of a government-in-waiting, keeping its own territories well-organized, and making sure services are easy to obtain. A big part of this effort is trying to convince the public that they are better off than if the US-backed forces took over the area,  and given Afghanistan’s years of problems, that’s not a hard case to make.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.