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Senators lash out at illicit mine contracts

AT-KABUL: Members of senate say that illegal contracts on the mines’ extractions as well as lack of transparency in the contracts are the matters of concern for them.

Fazl Hadi Muslimyar, head of senate said Tuesday to summon officials of the ministry of mines and petroleum next week to answer the senators’ questions over mining contracts.

“Illegal mining is not acceptable for us. As senators said that mines are being illegally extracted in different provinces need to be investigated. Officials from the ministry of mines and petroleum need to come to our next week session and answer our questions,” Muslimyar said.

Prior to that, the Integrity Watch Afghanistan and some civil society activists had said that government’s illegal contracts with private companies over the mines would pave the ground for war privatization.

Minister of mines and petroleum signed the contracts of a gold mine in Badakhshan and another copper mine in the Balkhab area with two foreign private companies at the Afghan embassy to Washington on October 5th that was followed by a series of reactions inside the country.

The Integrity Watch Afghanistan and some other monitoring organizations called the contracts illegal.

The presidential office dismissed Integrity Watch’s comments baseless and an effort to confuse public opinions, saying the contracts had no legal problems.

The Integrity Watch Afghanistan had claimed that some cabinet members were involved in the “illegal” contracts of mines.

Earlier, a London-based organization named Global Witness had counted incomes from Afghan mine extractions three billion dollars with Taliban and other armed groups gaining some 20 million dollars from the extractions.

The government has repeatedly said it would allow nobody to “illegally” use the country’s natural resources.

“The government lacks management in this regard and powerful individuals with the help from some government officials extract the mines in insecure areas,” said economic expert, Sayed QeyasSaeedi.

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