The Taliban reportedly subcontracted heavy machinery used to construct World Cup stadiums in Qatar. In the process, the group made millions of dollars from Qatari officials.

The Telegraph is claiming that the Taliban used salaries tied to peace talks to purchase and then rent out the equipment.

“The Taliban invested heavily in the World Cup construction and the tournament was a golden duck.

They were paid millions,” stated a source for the British outlet. “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.”

Qatar previously hosted peace talks between the Taliban and the UN/U.S.

A large group of Taliban officials lived in Doha during these negations. Qatar apparently gave these members a salary to live on their soil and even let them stay in mansions around Doha. UN/U.S. officials were reportedly aware of these payments.

Qatar changed the way they paid Taliban officials

However, the Taliban earnings were eventually covered up by Qatar. The tiny Middle Eastern country initially paid the Taliban members in cash.

But payments were then made difficult to track as Qatar opted to use direct deposits into the Taliban’s bank accounts.

“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,” claimed a former senior Afghan diplomat inside 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.”

Report adds to Qatar’s tainted tournament

Despite its small size, Qatar has become one of the richest countries in the world. While the nation certainly has money, they did not have much global prestige.

Hosting peace talks and the 2022 World Cup has, however, helped boost Qatar’s visibility.

Although not necessarily illegal, the report certainly raises even more questions about the World Cup in Qatar. The tournament has already come under fire for a plethora of issues.

Photo credit: IMAGO / Xinhua

Guide to World Cup 2022

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