Taliban taxation at seized Pakistan border worries exporters

Taliban militants
Representational image: AP

The Afghan Taliban has started collecting taxes on goods being transported through a major border crossing with Pakistan they now control, traders and exporters said.

The crossing between the north-western Pakistani town of Chaman and the Spin Boldak district of Afghanistan had fallen to the insurgents earlier this month.

The militants have now established check posts in the Wesh Mandi border town and are collecting taxes and levies on goods, said Imran Kakar, a Pakistani exporter based in Chaman.

The Taliban has sent a 20-page document to traders affiliated with the Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industries (PAJCCI), listing the tax rates to be paid to them.

“We received that list yesterday,” Zubair Motiwala, PAJCCI chairman, told dpa from the southern city of Karachi.

The Afghan authorities had re-established their check-posts in the city of Kandahar and were receiving levies there, making it a double taxation for traders, Kakar said.

Pakistan reopened the crossing for trade from Monday after weeks of closure following the Taliban takeover, Chaman administration chief Jumadad Mandokel said.

Pakistani exporters were considering suspending consignments except of perishable food items to Afghanistan and the Central Asian States (CARs) due to evolving situation, Motiwala said.

Half of Pakistan’s around 2.5-billion-dollar annual exports to Afghanistan pass through Chaman crossing, Motiwala said.

The figure might drop down to 600 million-700-million dollars this year due to the deterioration in the security situation, he feared.

Apart from food items, Pakistan exports construction goods including cement, textiles and medicines to Afghanistan.

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