KABUL: The Afghan Taliban are stepping up coal exports to Pakistan and have raised duties on sales, officials said, as the group aims to generate more revenue from its mining sector in the absence of direct foreign funding.
The move comes with global coal prices near record highs after top exporter Indonesia imposed a shock ban on exports earlier in 2022 and then Russia invaded Ukraine, pushing prices up further.
No country has officially recognised the Taliban government, which has meant international financial assistance has dried up even as the country faces a humanitarian and economic crisis.
The hardline Islamist movement is now banking on its natural resources to survive. Landlocked Afghanistan has large mineral and fossil fuel deposits, most of them untapped.
“Coal exports have increased because we have paved the way for traders,” said finance ministry spokesman Ahmad Wali Haqmal.
He said officials had collected around 3 billion Afghanis ($33.80 million) in customs revenue on more than 16 billion Afghanis worth of coal exports in the last six months.
As well as higher sales, tax on coal exports was last week increased to 30pc from 20pc, according an official letter, the contents of which were confirmed by Haqmal.
The Taliban announced their first annual budget earlier this month, saying they would depend solely on local revenue — a big task for a country dependent on foreign assistance for the last two decades.
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