Amid a western plan to pay insurgents to lay down their weapons in Afghanistan, rebel commanders have said the Taliban militants are earning up to 2 lakh Pakistani rupees for each Nato soldier they kill.
"We can’t lie to our commanders: they can check to see if there was a fight in that area. We get money if we capture equipment too. A gun can fetch $ 1,000 [690 pounds]," said a commander from Khost province who controls about 60 fighters.
Taliban rebels are earning up to 2 lakh Pakistani rupees (1,660 pounds) for each Nato soldier they kill, Times Online said ton Sunday.
The money usually reaches commanders via the traditional hawala transfer system, which is then shared within the militia.
"It’s a lot of money for us. We don’t care if we kill foreigners: their blood allows us to feed our families and the more we kill, the more we weaken them. Of course we are going to celebrate this,” a commander from Ghazni province was quoted as saying by the website of the London-based newspaper.
The report said the money is said to come from protection rackets, taxes imposed on opium farmers, donors in the Gulf states who channel money through Dubai and from the senior Taliban leadership in Pakistan.
So far this year 213 Nato soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan, including 41 British troops, bringing the potential rewards for the Taliban to 350,000 pounds, it said.
The rebel commanders said the bounty had more than doubled since the beginning of last year as the Afghan government prepares to present its strategy for ending the insurgency.
The strategy, supported by the G-20 London Summit in January, aims to lure top militants away from the fighting by offering them jobs in farming and engineering, vocational training in carpet weaving and carpentry, education and assimilation into the Afghan security forces, including the secret police.
The summit had raised 110 million pounds to fund the reintegration strategy.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai hopes to rally next weekend's tribal council in Kabul to the peace and reintegration programme (PRP).