United Nations experts say the Afghan Taliban are increasingly acting more like gangsters than a would-be government.
A report by a panel of experts monitoring sanctions against the Taliban says the Islamic fundamentalist group, which ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, seems to be stepping up its criminal activities, which include narcotics trafficking, illicit mining, extortion for using roads, and kidnapping for ransom.
The report to the UN Security Council circulated on February 9 said "the scale and depth" of Taliban cooperation with criminal networks in Afghanistan is new and builds on decades of interaction with other criminal groups.
The paper said this trend has "real consequences" for peace and security in Afghanistan because it encourages those Taliban members who stand to profit most from the criminal activities to oppose any meaningful reconciliation with the new government.
Based on reporting by AP