Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Economy, Development, Environment

What Do the Taleban Spend Afghanistan’s Money On? Government expenditure under the Islamic Emirate (Amended)

Kate Clark Roxanna Shapour 5 min

When our readers told us about some errors in our report: ‘What Do The Taleban Spend Afghanistan’s Money On? Government expenditure under the Islamic Emirate,” we started checking and cross-checking our sources and the report. We found that several budget lines in the operational budget for the security sector in the 1400 (2021) Q4 mini-budget (Table 2 of Annex 2) had been mislabelled in the English translation we used. We quickly revised the report and uploaded the new, corrected version to our website, but thought it prudent to highlight these mistakes for any reader who had downloaded the original version of the report.

A man and boy walk on a street in Kabul. After capturing power, Taleban became a familiar sight in Afghanistan’s capital. Photo: Shafiullah Kakar/AFP, 31 December 2022.

The errors which appeared in the original report related to the mislabelling of several budget lines in the operational budget for the security sector in the Islamic Emirate’s 1400 (2021) Q4 mini-budget, which in turn affected the text of the report. We have corrected these errors and revised the report and our analysis to reflect the correct figures – see What Do The Taleban Spend Afghanistan’s Money On? Government expenditure under the Islamic Emirate.”

We also provide a list of the amendments below to ensure our readers are fully aware of the changes.

We have revised Annex 2 to reflect these corrections, as below:

  1. Table 2 of Annex 2, Security:
  • Budget line 64 General Directorate of Intelligence was mislabelled as National Security Council
  • Budget line 15 General Directorate of Security for the Prime Minister General Directorate of Intelligence
  • Budget line 22 Ministry of Defence was mislabelled as General Directorate of Security for the Prime Minister
  • Budget line 17 Ministry of Defence was mislabelled as National Security Council
  • Table 2 of Annex 2, Economic Affairs and Agriculture:
  • Budget line 58 National Standards Agency was mislabelled as Housing and Community Amenities.

Once we made these corrections, we also found that this mislabelling had led to errors in our report, which we have corrected as below:

  1. In the section titled ‘The Q4 1400 Mini-Budget and Accountability Sessions’, Figure 2 on page 11 has been revised to reflect the correct state entities and their budgets:
  • The text on the same page has been revised to reflect these corrections:

Figure 2 above shows all the ministries, other state bodies or contingency budget lines which were allocated at least 750 million Afs (8.8 million USD) in the mini-budget. Almost half of the planned spending was to go to three entities: the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Education.

  • On Page 12, in the ‘Security spending: defence, intelligence, policing, vice and virtue’ section, we corrected the ranking of the various security ministries and agencies according to the size of their budgets:
  • Ministry of Interior (MoI): 8.9 billion Afs (105 million USD), 16.6 per cent of total budget
  • Ministry of Defence (MoD): 8.5 billion Afs (101 million USD), 15.9 per cent of total budget
  • General Directorate of Intelligence (GDI): 3.6 billion Afs (42.3 million USD), 6.7 per cent of total budget
  • National Security Council (NSC): 3.8 million Afs (4.5 million USD), 0.7 per cent of total budget
  • Ministry for Promoting Virtue and Preventing Vice: 245 million Afs (2.9 million USD), 0.5 per cent of total budget
  • General Directorate for the Security of the Prime Minister: 240 million Afs (2.8 million USD), 0.4 per cent of total budget
  • In the same section, we revised Figure 3 on page 13 to reflect these corrections:
  • The narrative on pages 13-14 has been amended as below:

Ruling over a country no longer embroiled in war and facing only relatively minor insurgencies and threats from the National Resistance Front and Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP), the Emirate allocated a disproportionate amount of public money on security, with much going on internal security: the Ministry of Interior, in charge of policing, was to get the largest allocation of any ministry (16.6 per cent of the total budget), with the Ministry of Defence close behind (15.9 per cent), and a sizeable amount also allocated to the Taleban’s intelligence agency, the GDI (6.7 per cent).

The Ministry of Interior and Defence both reported very high staff numbers at their accountability sessions held on 28 August 2022 – 200,000 and 150,000 respectively (the Ministry of Defence also said that number might increase in the future, and that the ministry had been restructured, with 113 new general-ranked positions proposed and 87 approved). Those staffing numbers are vast. Despite their large budget allocations, the reported force strength looks inflated. If correct, the Emirate’s armed forces would be larger than the Republic’s, which, in 2021, had a reported 300,000 personnel under arms, 119,000 in the Afghan National Police (ANP) and 182,000 in the Afghan National Army (ANA)10. It was fighting an active nationwide insurgency and enjoyed a budget underpinned by huge sums of foreign funding, publicly earmarked for the police and army, as well as unknown sums for the NDS.

Whatever the correct strength of the Emirate’s forces or the overall budget planned for them, one breakdown in the 1400 Q4 seems accurate. Most of the outlay in this, as in every other sector, was to be on operating costs, largely salaries (varying between 63 per cent of the total allocation for salaries at the National Security council to 80 per cent at the General Directorate for the Security of the Prime Minister).

  • In the section titled, ‘Contingencies and Emirate bureaucracy’, the second paragraph on page 19 has been amended as below:

The mini-budget also allocated large sums to the Offices of the Highest Official of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan14 and the Prime Minister (962 million Afs/11.3 million USD), and to the General Directorate of IEA Affairs, the renamed Administrative Affairs Office of the President (AOP) (441 million Afs/5.2 million USD). Together with the contingency codes and the sums provided for the Prime Minister’s security, they add up to over 4.4 billion Afs (51.7 million USD) or 4.9 per cent of the Emirate’s budget for the quarter, far more than the entire allocation for healthcare, or higher education, or any of the ‘economic’ ministries and agencies listed above. 

AAN is grateful for the care and attention with which you read our reports and appreciate your comments and feedback, which helps us ensure our reporting is accurate, impartial and of high quality. While to err is human, it is important to us to correct any errors to ensure the accuracy of our reports. With our apologises for any inconvenience these errors may have caused, please find the corrected version of this report here: What Do The Taleban Spend Afghanistan’s Money On? Government expenditure under the Islamic Emirate

This is the second part of reporting on Emirate finances. Part 1, Taxing the Afghan Nation: What the Taleban’s pursuit of domestic revenues means for citizens, the economy and the state, was published in September 2022.

Tags:

Taleban Taliban taxation Economy Government

Authors:

Roxanna Shapour

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