Afghan Taliban flex muscles with new telecom 'tax'

The Taliban's central leadership has formally demanded a tax from four cellular companies in exchange for not damaging their sites or harming their employeesThe Taliban have demanded a hefty new “protection tax” from Afghan mobile phone companies, industry and militant sources told AFP, as the resurgent group tightens its stranglehold on a rare successful business in a slumping war economy. At a secret meeting last month near the Pakistani city of Quetta, the Taliban’s central leadership formally demanded the tax from representatives of four cellular companies in exchange for not damaging their sites or harming their employees. The edict was motivated by an Afghan government announcement in October that it had amassed a windfall of 78 million Afghani ($1.14 million) within days of imposing an additional 10 percent tax on operators, according to two telecom company officials who attended the meeting and a third industry executive privy to the information.

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