Taliban claim collecting $270M revenue in Afghanistan

Finance Ministry to pay all outstanding salaries, pensions in one go, blaming Ghani government for failing to pay retirees.

Taliban claim collecting $270M revenue in Afghanistan

The Taliban's interim administration in Afghanistan announced on Saturday that they have collected over $270 million in revenue since taking power in August.

Ahmad Wali Haqmal, the spokesman for the Finance Ministry, told a news conference in Kabul that revenue collection is picking up momentum with each passing day. Without going into detail, he identified customs and other taxes as the primary sources of revenue.

According to the local Hasht-e-Subh daily, the previous government was generating a lowest average of about 22 billion afghanis ($235 million) revenue a month even during the coronavirus pandemic when businesses were down.

The Taliban official added a regular mechanism would be put in place to pay all government civil servants the unpaid salary for the past three months in one go. He added that pending pensions would be paid to all retirees.

Charging the previous government of corruption, the Taliban official said over 60,000 pensioners have not been paid their dues over a year.

The cash-strapped country, which has been ravaged by 20 years of war, is now in a catastrophic economic crisis, with some people selling assets and begging for bread to survive.

On Aug. 17, two days after the Taliban seized control of Kabul, the US government froze about $9.5 billion of Afghanistan's central bank assets. Many donors and international organizations, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, have stopped making payments to the interim Taliban regime.

The UN forecasts that around 22.8 million people or over half of Afghanistan's population, will face severe food problems.

Afghanistan is facing famine, the Human Rights Watch warned earlier this month urging the UN, and international financial institutions to urgently adjust existing restrictions and sanctions affecting the country’s economy and banking sector.

Hüseyin Demir

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