Sher Ahmad, hailing from the Darqad district of Takhar, told Pajhwok Afghan News the Taliban had launched a campaign to forcibly collect money from civilians.
“Each family is forced to pay between the fighters between 20,000 to 100,000 afghanis, depending on their status. If anyone refuses to pay, the Taliban punish them,” he alleged.
Sharifullah, who belongs to the Khwaja Bahauddin district of the province, also grumbled about being bullied by the Taliban to pay them cash.
“They have asked me to pay 50,000 afghanis, but I didn't have that much money. Subsequently, I felt obliged to escape to another area,” the inhabitant charged.
A number of other people, whose economic condition is not good enough, have also fled their homes along with families due to the illicit demands, according to Sharifullah.
A resident of Yangi Qala district, who wished to go unnamed, also said the guerrillas had started a fund-collecting drive in his area.
In the past, he recalled, the Taliban extorted money from people in the name of Zakat and Ushr. Now the rebels were forcing them to pay, he said.
Police spokesman Maj. Abdul Khalil Asir confirmed the insurgents were collecting money from Darqad, Khwaja Bahauddin and Yangi Qala inhabitants.
“Worshippers in each mosque are asked to pay 1,000,000 afghanis and people have to do so to escape possible punishment,” he said, adding security officials were trying to curb the practice.
But a Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said local people voluntarily extended them cash assistance. The fighters did not demand specific amounts, he insisted.
Some reports in the not-so-distant past had suggested the Taliban were forcing people in different areas of the country to pay them money.