Taliban insurgents claimed control of a key commercial route connecting Pakistan and southern Afghanistan on Wednesday, only hours after Afghan forces handed up the vital transit point to the Islamist hardline rebel group.
Officials from the Afghan government were not immediately ready to confirm the loss of a town in Kandahar province’s Spin Boldak district, which is located near the Durand Line border with Pakistan.
In a statement, Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said, “The Mujahideen have conquered an important border town called Wesh in Kandahar.”
“With this, the important road between (Spin) Boldak and Chaman and Kandahar customs have come under Mujahideen control,” he said.
Afghan government data shows about 900 trucks cross the frontier each day, linking Pakistan with Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asian nations.
In recent weeks, the Taliban have gained control of Islam Qala and Turghundi in Herat province, ShirKhan Bandar in Kunduz, and Abu Naser Farahi border port in Farah province, according to Shafiqullah Attai, chairman of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment in Kabul.
Instead of being sent to the Afghan government exchequer, the Taliban have been quickly securing all border checkpoints in order to fill their coffers with customs revenue.
“We don’t have an accurate figure on the volume of trade and transit performed from these ports now that they are under Taliban control… money has begun to flow to the Taliban,” he told Reuters.