News - Afghanistan
A number of local farmers in the northern province of Baghlan have reported that the Taliban is forcing farmers in the area to pay them Zakat (almsgiving).
Local residents claim that the group collects Zakat on an annual basis and issues licenses to those who pay. However, residents emphasize that anyone refusing the Taliban's orders to pay are forced to appear before a Taliban tribunal.
Apparently the Taliban impose payment of Zakat on crops which farmers harvest such as wheat. Local residents stress that the Taliban collect about 70kg from each 700kg of wheat harvested.
Meanwhile, the commander of Afghan Local Police ALP in Baghlan Obaidullah has confirmed that the Taliban collect Zakat in some areas of the province where the insurgents dominate.
"Taliban cannot collect Zakat in areas which are under our control, but in some areas they collect Zakat by force," ALP commander in Baghlan Obaidullah said.
Residents in Dundghori village of Baghlan have said the government doesn't have control over the village and the area is totally controlled by the Taliban fighters.
According to local residents anyone who doesn't abide by Taliban's orders are made to face trial by the insurgent group.
"The village is completely under Taliban siege and Taliban collect Zakat annually and issue licenses," resident of Dundghori village Ibrahim said.
"Taliban collect Zakat by force," one resident of Baghlan Fazel said.
Joining ALP commander Obaidullah, Baghlan police chief Abdul Jabbar Purdeli has also confirmed that the Taliban collect Zakat from local farmers in their strongholds.
"There are some reports which indicate that Taliban collect Zakat in areas under their control, but the provincial police force will take necessary action regarding the issue soon," Abdul Jabbar said.
This comes at a time that the Taliban controls nearly a hundred villages in Barka, Baghlan-e-Markazi districts and some villages in Pole-Khomri center of the province.