Taliban collects monthly fees from street vendors in Herat

The Taliban municipality in the western province of Herat has been collecting 150 Afghanis (US$2) monthly from street vendors under various pretexts, a number of vendors told KabulNow on Thursday.

The vendors, who receive no services in return, are forced to pay a portion of their income to the Taliban officials.

Hafizullah, (not his real name) a street vendor, said that the Taliban municipality workers come to them monthly and collect these fees. “There’s no business, but we still have to pay our daily income to the Taliban,” he said.

Sajjad (not his real name) another street vendor said that in the previous government, even though their business was much better, they did not have to pay anything to the municipality.

Meanwhile, the Taliban spokesperson for Herat municipality, Naser Armal confirmed with KabulNow the collection of money from the vendors and said that based on their new plan, the municipality is collecting a “monthly fee” from the vendors.

“The fee collected for urban services is based on the location, capital and ability of the vendors. The fee starts from 50-150 Afghanis. If the person is unable to pay, he will be exempted,” he adds.

Despite the increase in poverty and unemployment in the province, the Taliban has continued to extort these struggling vendors; despite their low-income job which has increased since the group took over the country.