(JNS) Deborah Lyons, the head of the United Nations mission in Afghanistan, met with Sirajuddin Haqqani, a wanted terrorist with the Haqqani Network, a Taliban component with close ties to Al-Qaeda.
Lyons had served as Canada’s ambassador in Kabul when the Taliban carried out a suicide bombing against a Canadian embassy convoy. Lyons put up a monument to the security contractors who were wounded and killed, but they sued after being abandoned afterwards.
Haqqani is a wanted terrorist with a $10 million FBI reward on his head.
“It is impossible to provide humanitarian assistance inside Afghanistan without engaging with the de facto authorities,” warned U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
The de facto authorities being the Islamic terrorists of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
The official word is that the Taliban won’t stop the U.N. humanitarian operations. Whether or not the Taliban will refrain from taxing the U.N.’s proposed $1.2 billion aid boom is another question.
Without waiting for that question to be settled, Biden has not only kicked in $64 million, but the Treasury Department issued a license for Afghanistan aid which states that it “will continue to support the continuity of the U.S. government’s important humanitarian-related work in the region,” while claiming that “we have not reduced sanctions pressure on Taliban leaders or the significant restrictions on their access to the international financial system.”
The Taliban and most “humanitarian” groups in Afghanistan are using the Hawala remittance system, which enables international finance and massive terrorist fundraising at the same time.
And “humanitarian aid” is one of the best ways to fund Islamic terrorists. The Taliban impose an Islamic tithe, which American taxpayers will end up paying once the millions in aid arrive.
The Taliban had set up its Commission for the Arrangement and Control of Companies and Organisations at least a decade ago. Much like the old Afghan government, it made few distinctions between for-profit companies and non-profit charities, taxing them both.
When the United States was in control of Afghanistan, USAID and the United Nations were exempted from government taxes. That was only fair considering that the vast majority of Afghanistan’s money came from USAID and the United Nations. But the local Afghan “implementing partners” paid taxes to the government, and if they did business in Taliban territory, they also paid off the jihadists.
We don’t know exactly how much taxpayer money went to the Taliban, but one survey found that contractors priced in 20 percent to 30 percent of their contracts as payoffs. More formally, the Taliban tends to charge a 10 percent Islamic tax on income and a 2.5 percent Islamic wealth tax. While this is modest compared to taxes in some western socialist countries, the only service the Taliban provides is not killing you. That doesn’t require much infrastructure.
Every charity and humanitarian group has denied paying taxes to the Taliban, because doing so is illegal. All of them, or almost all of them, are likely lying—because otherwise they’d be dead.
The Taliban had an extensive and sophisticated tax collection network long before it took Kabul, which included all the usual elements of bureaucracy, registration, certificates and assessments. They even have “NGO coordinators” who work with non-profit groups.
As an Economist article noted, “Britain’s Foreign Office had to remind ngos not to pay taxes to the Taliban.”
The Taliban at one point provided a list of nonprofits that had registered with its Commission for the Arrangement and Control of Companies and Organisations. The group “included UN agencies, national and international NGOs and human rights organisations,” including those that “rely on funding from a wide range of sources, including both the UN and the US government.”
That was back in 2013 when the Taliban had far less power.
It’s a safe bet that nearly every non-profit still operating in Afghanistan is registered with the Commission, and was probably registered in previous years, and is paying off the Taliban.
Even if the U.N. succeeds in exempting its operations from taxes, the “implementing partners,” local Afghan groups, will still pay taxes to the Taliban. And their employees and those of the groups they fund will certainly be taxed. If the United States funds doctors and clinics, they will be taxed (as they were before the fall of Kabul). If we fund teachers, they will pay taxes to the Taliban, and so will every beneficiary of our “humanitarian aid.”
“We can maintain a humanitarian commitment to … the Afghan people in ways that do not have any funding or assistance pass through the coffers of a central government,” claimed Ned Price, Biden’s State Department spokesman.
Price knows that’s a lie.
Even if the humanitarian aid doesn’t initially pass through the Taliban’s coffers, it will inevitably end up there as it works its way through Afghanistan. Even if we just shipped food and medicines, the Taliban will take its “cut,” just as it used to. They will then be able to dispense it to their supporters or resell it on the black market. Both are common practices for Islamic terrorist groups like the Houthis in Yemen or Hamas in Israel.
That’s why it’s common for there to be a “humanitarian crisis” in terrorist hellholes like Yemen or Gaza. No matter how much aid is sent in, the crisis never goes away, because the terrorists not only steal the aid, they deliberately create the crises so that they have more aid to steal.
The only way to stop the crises is to either kill the terrorists or at least stop sending them aid.
The 10 percent in the headline is a crude estimate. Any money or aid dispatched to Afghanistan will resonate back and forth through the economy, with the Taliban taking a cut at every end. And the final amount will be a whole lot more than the formal Islamic tithe which the Taliban imposes.
There is no way to provide humanitarian aid to a terrorist state without funding its regime.
And that will mean difficult moral choices.
When the Great Famine struck Russia as a result of Communist collectivism, the United States undertook a massive aid effort, sending $20 million in food aid. The noble effort saved millions and bailed out the Bolshevik regime, which showed no gratitude and went on to kill millions anyway. Then it built up a massive nuclear program while plotting to destroy the United States and murder hundred of millions of Americans.
No one wants to deny aid to suffering people, but when the cause of the suffering is a genocidal enemy regime, subsidizing it only makes things worse. Refusing to provide aid or normalize economic relations with the Soviet Union might have saved far more lives in the long run.
The Taliban won because many Afghans decided to support them, or not to resist them. That is a choice that they will have to live with and learn to regret if anything is going to change.
Providing aid to Afghanistan will bail out the Taliban. The more aid we send to Afghanistan, the more powerful, the more secure and the more aggressive the Taliban will grow. The harder the Taliban has to work to maintain control over Afghanistan, the less scope it will have for terrorism abroad. The more aid we send, the broader the Taliban’s horizons will grow.
Sen. Cory Booker foolishly argued that aid is “strategic leverage that we have over the Taliban.” No, it’s strategic leverage that the Taliban have over us, as the Biden administration and the United Nations negotiate with the terrorists over the right to bail out their vicious regime.
Biden kept falsely claiming that he had to get out of Afghanistan because we couldn’t keep spending money on the failed state. Yet he began sending more money to Afghanistan before all of the Americans he abandoned behind enemy lines had even been evacuated.
After leaving massive caches of weapons and vehicles for the Taliban to enjoy, Biden is dispatching another $64 million, of which millions will likely end up in the hands of the Taliban.
The Taliban will impose its Islamic tithe on the aid that Biden sends to Afghanistan, and taxpayers will be the ones paying the tithe to support the Taliban’s jihad.
Americans aren’t just paying taxes to the government, they’re paying them to the Taliban.
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.
This article was first published by FrontPage Magazine.