The Taliban has taken over a U.S.-built bridge between Afghanistan and Tajikistan to collect customs revenues, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
The U.S. spent more than $40 million to construct the bridge that the Taliban overtook on June 22, according to The Journal.
The insurgents forced 134 border guards and other Afghan officials out of the area into Tajikistan, The Journal reported.
“Now, it is our area, so they should go to us,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said.
The Taliban has gained control of most of Afghanistan’s northern border with Tajikistan.
Instead of closing the crossing, the extremist group has made agreements with local officials to continue trade, according to The Journal. Trade revenues bring in tens of millions of dollars that will now go to the insurgents.
“We informed all these governments and assured them that the routine work of the border, the customs, will be running as before,” Shaheen said. “Even the staff members of the customs, we have not changed them, we told them, ‘Do your work as it was.'”
The Taliban has gained control of more than one-third of Afghan districts as U.S. troops withdraw from the country, according to The Journal. Most of the districts have surrendered without a fight and Afghan forces have fled or given up.
A recent U.S. intelligence report estimated the Afghan government could collapse six months after American forces leave the country.
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