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Govt. rejects report over mines extraction contracts in contested regions

AT News Report-KABUL: The government denied a report that says it had signed contracts for extraction of mines in the insecure areas, but admitted that illegal extractions of mines were still challenges.

Abdul WadirMotfi, spokesman of the ministry of mines and petroleum, said Saturday that “better systems” were established to manage the mines and the ministry was working hard on transparent use of the mines.

“We make contracts for mine extraction in the safe and secure areas, we can monitor the extractions and protect the reserves. We never make contracts in the unsafe areas, but the illegal extraction of mines is a major problem. This is done in the areas under control of opposition groups. Also some powerful and local residents are involved in the illegal extractions,” said Motfi.

The Integrity Watch Afghanistan, a non-government monitoring organization, has reported that powerful individuals extract mines in the insecure areas and the government was unable to manage and protect the big mines.

It has claimed that the extraction of the Shida copper mine was handed over to an unknown company, while the Badakhshan gold mine extraction was given to a former minister. It has said that the mentioned mines were lying in the Taliban-controlled areas.

But the ministry of mines and petroleum said the contracts are signed based on legal, transparency, accountability, technical issues and strategic views.

“I think the security situation is not suitable now for mines extractions. When we can’t provide security for our mines and cannot use them, we’d better not to sign contracts for their extraction. The government needs to provide security to use better the mines,” said Abdullah Wahedyar, an economic analyst.

Lawmaker, Monawar Shah Bahadori, said that mines were extracted by powerful individuals in the insecure areas. “Managing and correct use of the mines is the best option to strengthen our economy and the government has to take serious measures in this regard,” said Bahadori.

 

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