The Taliban is trying to take control of revenue generating sectors in Samangan province, local officials said on Thursday.
Daud Kalakani, the governor of Samangan, said the Taliban has increased their presence near coal mines in Dara-e-Soof Bala and Dara-e-Soof Paeen areas to take over the mines and collect money for their war machine.
He said that the Taliban collects nearly one million Afghanis a day from trucks carrying coal to other parts of the country.
“In areas of Dara-e-Soof Bala, the Taliban is not doing extractions, but they have control over the routes. The trucks that carry coals are forced to pay 10,000 Afghanis each,” Kalakani said.
Mohammad Zaki, a coal trader in Balkh said he has paid the Taliban 200,000 Afghanis in the past 20 days on the way from the coal he brings from Samangan.
“In the past, people were loading 200 to 500 tons of coal and were importing the coal to Pakistan and other places, but now everyone has abandoned the business because of the checkpoints in Joi Shir,” said Mohammad Zaki, referring to a Taliban checkpoint in the area.
According to local officials, the route connecting the Dara-e-Soof Bala and Dara-e-Soof Paeen has been closed over the past two years due to the presence of the Taliban fighters.
Sources said that at least 200 trucks are heading to Mazar-e-Sharif from coal mines in Dara-e-Soof and the Taliban charge every truck 10,000 Afghanis.
“Previously, the Taliban was giving a letter to drivers in Chapchal area in Dara-e-Soof Paeen and were taking 10,000 Afghanis from each truck, but now they have also established a checkpoint in Joi Shir and are taking money in two points,” said Nasratullah Nusrat, a driver.
In recent years, as insecurity has increased in the north, the Taliban is also seen taking control of some mines.
Prior to this, local officials in Badakhshan province said the Taliban was collecting huge amounts of money from the gold mines in the province.