The Taliban made millions from the organization of the World Cup by providing construction equipment for the construction of the stadium in Qatar, writes English The Telegraph. Senior Taliban officials have used money they received from peace talks to buy and then rent heavy machinery to build the stadium over the past decade, a source from the Taliban office in Doha revealed.
A significant contingent of Taliban leaders lived in Doha, the capital of Qatar, from 2013 onwards, where they were involved in protracted peace talks with the US and the UN. “The Taliban invested heavily in the World Cup construction and the tournament was a golden duck.
They were paid millions,” claimed the source, who lived in Doha in the decade running up to the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in 2021. “Some Taliban members had between six and ten pieces of heavy machinery each in Doha and would earn up to £10,000 per machine per month”.
Two separate senior Taliban sources described how officials received lucrative living allowances in the country during the peace talks, which were then invested in large construction machinery.
As disgusting as the Qatar World Cup is, it’s a good barometer for seeing where the world is really at—no one actually cares about oppression if they can be entertained. https://t.co/piAjMhDOMS — Jake Hanrahan (@Jake_Hanrahan) November 26, 2022
Qatari authorities, with US and UN approval, have been paying members of the Taliban political office in Doha a monthly stipend worth thousands of pounds as part of efforts to facilitate peace talks with the West. “It was an open secret in the Afghan Embassy in Doha that the Taliban negotiations team and political office were being paid well by the Qatari regime and they invested these salaries in construction equipment for the World Cup,” says one former senior Afghan diplomat in Doha.
“The Taliban’s Haqqani network even used to collect money and donations from Afghans based in other Arab states and promise them the money would be invested in the Qatar World Cup projects”. The visiting officials were also provided with luxury SUVs, free health care and regular food delivery.
In a response to The Telegraph, a spokesperson for the Taliban said:
“We reject claims about the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan providing any construction machinery to the State of Qatar for the 2022 world cup. “No official of the Islamic Emirate has invested any ‘lucrative’ allowances/stipends on any heavy machinery and/or sub-contracted any such machinery to any Qatari firms”.
A Qatari government official told The Telegraph:
“The Taliban’s political office in Doha was established at the specific request of the US government in 2013, and in coordination with the former Afghan government, with the aim of fostering dialogue toward peace.
“The political office and its activities were monitored and engaged-with on terms agreed and coordinated with the United States. Accordingly, the United States had full visibility on all arrangements and matters with regard to hosting the Taliban political office in Qatar.
Any measures taken or arrangements made were in compliance with Qatar’s obligations under international law, and under the relevant US and Qatari laws and regulations”.