AT-KABUL: The militant outfits have been pocketing millions of dollars from illegal extraction of mining in Afghanistan annually, the Integrity Watch Afghanistan (IWA) warned on Tuesday.
“The mining sector has to be transparent, because it becomes a source of misfortune for Afghan people. The revenue goes to the powerful and terrorists’ pockets instead of the government,” ariananews quoted the Chairman of IWA, Sayed Akram Afzali, as saying.
Afzali also disclosed that some figures in the government give the mining contracts to their relatives.
The Ministry of Mines also confirms the mining contracts are mostly given to the influential figures or relatives.
“Weakness in the Ministry of Mines caused the powerful and terrorist groups become more courageous for illegal extraction of mines,” said Narges Nehan, the acting minister of mines.
Lack of security and infrastructure has meant mine reserves in Afghanistan remain largely untapped, and up to 10,000 deposits are estimated to be outside government control, the source added.
Afghanistan is sitting on vast amounts of untapped natural resources which are believed to be the key to steer Afghanistan’s economy towards development and generate employment opportunities.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Afghanistan has nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits, enough to fundamentally alter the impoverished nation’s future.