Taliban divided over Ushr collection in Paktika
SHARAN (Pajhwok): Differences have cropped among Taliban leaders over the collection of Ushr-- the Islamic tax on agricultural produce -- in southeastern Paktika province, local officials and residents said on Wednesday.
The militants earned millions of afghanis annually by collecting Ushr, a major revenue source for the militant movement, from people, said a resident of Sar Rawza district of the province.
Hailing from Marzak area, Shabir told Pajhwok Afghan News the Taliban had collected 40 million afghanis in Ushr last area from residents of Sar Rawza district alone. The town is known for its dense jalghoza (pine nut) forests.
He said the people had to pay Taliban the tax because they controlled the mountainous town. Shabir added residents of the area feared facing Taliban’s wrath in case of a refusal to give Ushr.
Another resident of Sultan village, who did not want to be named, claimed paying the Taliban 148,000afs in Ushr this year on his income from pine nut produce.
Mohammad Hanif, who belongs to Gomal district, claimed divisions had lately surfaced among the Taliban over Ushr collection. “Ushr has been a huge revenue source for the fighters, but it has touched off rifts within the movement.”
Governor Ilyas Wahdat, meanwhile, confirmed the insurgents realised millions of afghanis in Ushr from residents of the province every year. As a result of tiffs on the issue, the Taliban had set up a new Ushrp-collecting team, he said.
“These difference show the Taliban are fighting for personal financial gains only. They have no other goal or common cause,” the governor remarked, saying efforts were being made to curb the practice.
On the other hand, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid denied the claims as groundless. “Paktika is not that big in terms of Ushr and we have no information about differences within the movement in that province.”
Mujahid spurned reports about the Taliban split as a mere rumor. “We categorically reject such claims,” the Taliban spokesman told Pajhwok over the telephone.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.