As Sleepy Joe Biden, the formal chief of the radical leftist extremists in America, bestowed an entire country, Afghanistan, upon the radical Islamist extremists that are the Taliban, he also gave them a source of wealth, which, while not perfect – in the sense that it isn’t exactly developed – seems perfect for their medieval-level financial system.
‘Sophisticated’ Taliban finances, no doubt
Some reports in the mainstream – meaning liberal leftist and Marxist – Western media, mostly from the US and UK, have reported that the Taliban economy is built on top of an efficient financial system run by the ragtag radicals.
In a report, BBC News even described it as a “sophisticated financial network and taxation system.”
One dares wonder what’s sophisticated about being given money by rogue states wishing to stir and stoke radical Islamist terrorism, about looting, or about imposing levies to suck the life out of any sort of production activity, a practice of excessive taxation going back to unenlightened medieval feudal tyrants or even to Antiquity slave-owning societies.
Who are we to argue with the BBC – if they want to have the Western publics believe that there is anything sophisticated about the Taliban – so be it.
The report notes that the Taliban are among the “wealthiest insurgent groups in the world”, and that they control Afghanistan once again – shyly saving the fact that the latter would never have happened had the senile Democrat occupant of the White House had any balls, decency, brains, morals, or consciousness.
In any case, the Taliban do receive and/or generate sizable income to maintain their military apparatus.
They have about 70,000 to 100,000 fighters at present compared with an estimated 30,000 fighters about a decade ago, according to estimates of the US government.
The repugnant radical Islamists, who mostly excel at torturing and killing people, indeed appear to be utilizing funding sources from both outside and inside Afghanistan.
The UN estimates the Taliban’s annual income at around $400 million per year since 2011, while the BBC says its own investigations point towards $1.5 billion per year.
Bribery and ‘financial aid’
The same investigations also indicate the first source of income for the Taliban, namely, bribes by foreign governments of rogue states.
The report mentions Pakistan, Iran, and even Russia, but also private citizens – understand wealthy proponents of radical Islamism – from the Persian Gulf states such as Qatar, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia.
All of this foreign “financial aid” to the Taliban is estimated at about $500 million per year at most.
A US intelligence report from 2008 estimated foreign funding, mostly from the Gulf states, at $106 million in that year.
The second funding source in the Taliban’s “sophisticated” financial system is the drug trade, with the Taliban taxing the production of opium, which is used for making heroin.
The opium production of Afghanistan is estimated to have an annual export value of about $1.5-3 billion.
Officials from the former Afghan government have said that the Taliban collected a 10% tax on opium cultivation, which they collect from laboratories converting it into heroin, and from traffickers.
Thus, the Taliban are estimated to be making between $100 million and $400 million per year from taxing the drug trade.
More taxing and looting
Looting and taxing other industries, to the extent that Afghanistan has any, such as construction materials and fuel, are further sources of revenue, as well as taxing any sort of transportation, development projects, and trade.
They have even billed customers for services provided by the former Afghan government such as electricity distribution.
The Taliban have also been looting whatever they conquer in their war with the Afghan government and the US.
Small-scale illegal mining
The fourth major source of income for the murderous radical Islamist group has been the taxing and/or running of small-scale mining operations scratching the surface of Afghanistan mineral wealth.
Afghanistan’s entire mining sector was worth about $1 billion per year with the Afghan government in place.
According to a UN report from 2014, the Taliban received $10 million from about 30 illegal mining operations in the Helmand province in southern Afghanistan.