Taliban leader has withdrawn nearly $690 million cash for personal use, says former Afghan spy chief

Former chief of Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, Rahmatullah Nabil, has claimed that the Taliban leader, Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada, has withdrawn a total amount of nearly 60 billion afghanis – equals to 689,746, 200 USD – from the group’s Ministry of Finance over the past one year.

The cash withdrawals by direct order of Akhundzada and his inner circle, Nabil claimed in a tweet thread on Saturday, have recently forced the Taliban’s minister of finance, Hedayatullah Badri, to resign from his post.

“Various people with different names have withdrawn nearly AFNs 60 billion from the ministry of finance for Hibatullah over the past one year under the justification of numerous expenditure purposes. This is equal to nearly 50 percent of the overall [national] customs revenue,” Nabil detailed about the cash withdrawals.

He added that the Taliban’s finance minister resigned after his favorite payment methods for accountability, instead of direct cash withdrawal, was rejected by Hibatullah and his inner-circle.

Citing people close to the resigned Taliban minister, Nabil said the Taliban leader uses the withdrawn cash to entice some tribal elders and to form a personal army of 40,000 troops, mostly from his own clans in Kandahar.

Moreover, the former Afghan spy chief claimed, Hibatullah has appointed his own tribesmen and trustees as customs officials, ordering them to directly transfer Kandahar’s quota of these customs revenues to his office in the future.

The decision, Nabil added, was made last week in the absence of Badri.

In February, the Taliban’s finance ministry claimed in a statement that it had collected 100 billion afghanis, highest in customs revenue in the country’s history, in 11 months of the current fiscal year in Afghanistan.