Taliban Raise $42 Million From Lifting Hunting Ban on Rare Birds for Arab Royals

Talha Ali via The New York TimesTalha Ali via The New York Times

Hasht-E Subh The Taliban Ministry of Information and Culture has said that it has signed contracts worth $42 million with foreign tourists that allow them to hunt rare birds.

Bakhtar news agency, the official Taliban-owned news website, reported on Tuesday (December 13th) that the million-dollar contracts with foreign tourists, especially Arabs, facilitate the legal hunting of some birds. The Taliban leadership has officially granted permission to foreign tourists, most of whom are Qatari shaikhs and royals, to hunt rare birds in Afghanistan.

However, the Taliban said that under specific conditions tourists can hunt birds, and if they are not met, the contracts might be terminated. According to the contracts, the hunters can only hunt a rare desert bird migrating from Central Asia and Siberia every year in certain seasons to the far reaches of west and south Asia in search of a mild climate and a place to breed.

The birds are called houbara bustard whose meat is prized by Arab shaikhs as an aphrodisiac. Falcons, hawks, and geese are also believed to be among their favorites. Farah, Herat, Nimruz and Helmand provinces were every year visited by foreign tourists to illegally hunt rare birds.

This is despite the fact that the Taliban had previously announced a hunting and smuggling ban on rare birds in an official statement.

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