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Editorial: Protecting mines

The Taliban are looking for financial sources to fund their subversive activities as the turf war intensifies. The war has stepped into final stage because those supporting insurgency in Afghanistan are under crippling pressure. International community has become tired of asking the certain actors to stop supporting the Afghan militants. Therefore, they are isolating those who are impeding the peace process by misguiding and using the insurgent groups in Afghanistan. As the hopes for replenishing supplies are fading and the resources are dwindling, the militants have turned to Afghan natural resources and farmers. They are supporting farmers in insecure parts of the country to produce poppy. Opium is cash crop for them. Decrease in the price of opium is the result of increase in supply.

However, opium failed to become a reliable source. Not only because of increase in the supply line, but also due to measures taken by the regional and global countries to stop drugs’ smuggling and selling. Therefore, the militants have fixed eyes on goldmines, precious and semi-precious gemstones. At some point it seems that the Taliban have better strategies to fund their activities than the Afghan government because the authorities have failed to establish writ of the government in mining areas. They failed to exploit the natural resources for welfare of public and development of the country. They are slow in responding to the threats. Leadership in Kabul shall give due importance to the gold and gemstone mines.

Although, the security forces have retaken control of gold mine in Raghistan district of northern Badakhshan province, but it took 40 days. It seems that the government has paying less attention to the funding source of the militants. The policymakers are seemingly focused on war winning at the battlefield. However, the concept of war has changed. The domain is bigger and needs broad-based and well-calculated approach. The war shall be fought on multi-front.

To lead the war against insurgency towards success, the president should direct the provincial governors and district chiefs to increase security in the areas abundant with natural resources. Establishment of a special task force to protect the mines would be a good way to protect the mines from incursion. The task force should be given the mandate to identify and secure the natural resources across the country. International community will gladly support such a task force if they were convinced that it would decrease militancy and improve Afghan economy. However, elimination of corruption shall be top priority of the government because in many areas the Taliban were allegedly supported by the officials.

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