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Illegal mining sites and the govt’s lack of concern

The last forty years have been deadliest, full of troubles, and intimidating in many ways. They unfolded the storms of troubles. We lost a whole generation to the war and those who survived are the ruling elite now. Though, no one can go back and make a restart, but the ones who started off building our present were either deliberately clueless on a promising future or preferred closing their eyes over what has been happening in the country over the last 14 years. Perhaps they remained silent spectators and if sometimes they raised their voices against something wrong, the voices were so faint that they couldn’t be heard in the snarled up life or they were suppressed. And the result is insecurity, corruption, land grabbing and illegal mining. Representatives of the Afghanistan Natural Resources Oversight Network on Wednesday reported there were over 2,000 illegal mining sites across the country. The network members called on the government to take notice of the illegal mining. The Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP) is clueless about the exact figures regarding the number of sites where mineral resources are extracted illegally. Nevertheless, the ministry officials vow to make a comprehensive report drafted identifying sites, within three months. There are media reports that part of the income from this sordid boon, ends up in Taliban’s pockets. The poor response of the government is irksome.  Afghanistan, famous for its huge natural resources deposits in the world, has been plagued by illegal extractions of mines. This illegal mining is particularly endemic in northern and eastern parts of the country where there are huge reserves of natural resources including tourmaline.  Given the problems in contract awards and the growing trend of illegal mining, the wealth coming from this sector will pile up in a few hands. A few families will thrive economically and the nation will remain deprived of its benefits. These affluent families will rule the country for years to come. Many people in the government know that the nexus of the Taliban and some powerful individuals is responsible for the grab of natural resources, but their silence is a sin. In a country where there is lack of coordination among the government, legislative and judiciary, illegal mining, kidnappings for ransom, insecurity, corruption and certain other social and economic evils happen frequently with no fear of law. When the illegal mines extractions by some big-wheels is making headlines from time to time, the weaker reaction from the government, is beyond understanding. It’s believed that these powerful individuals have backing from the Taliban and also from the government officials. All this is happening under the very nose of the government within the frontiers of Afghanistan. Then at last what the government is up to?

If transparency and accountability is not heightened, the plunder of natural resources will increase manifold. To address the issue of the endemic corruption, plunder of natural resources the government must maintain security and establish its writ at least to a level that allows the people to engage in normal economic activity without fear of being killed, kidnapped, tortured, robbed of, or having its investments destroyed or usurped.

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