A number of truck drivers said this week that the Taliban has started imposing illegal taxes on them in the Shamalzai district of Zabul province and when they cross the Durand Line and enter the district, they give 8,000 to 15,000 (Pakistani) Rupees to the Taliban and receive a customs receipt.
“They have built camps there and are always there. We cannot tell them anything,” said Rahimullah, a driver.
The drivers also said border police and local police in the Shamalzai – Qalat road force them to pay money.
“We cannot say no to the Taliban or government. They stand in our way and ask for money,” said Abdul Shokor, a driver.
Zabul provincial police chief, Mirwais Khan Noorzai confirmed Taliban takes money from the drivers, but Taliban have not officially commented on the issue.
“Taliban have not established a custom, they are thieves and sometimes come there and stand on the road,” Noorzai said.
Zabul provincial council meanwhile said Taliban takes money from 3,000 trucks that use the road through Shamalzai district.
“In the regions out of government control, Taliban have established a custom and take 15,000 Rupees from every truck,” said Assadullah Kakar, deputy head of the council.
Shamalzai district is the most insecure district in Zabul province, which shares a 64km border with Pakistan. According to local officials, 34km of the border of the district is controlled by security forces, while the remaining 30km is controlled by Taliban.