Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Taliban and organized crime control mineral extraction in several provinces of Afghanistan

Lapis lazuli
Lawmakers from Badakhshan province said that the commander of an illegal armed group removed security troops responsible for the safety of a lapis lazuli mine out of Kiran-wa-Manjan district of the province in early 2014 and captured the mine.  The lawmakers said that the commander and his armed men are illegally extracting the lapis lazuli and then transfer the stones through Anjuman-Parian pass and Panjsher province to Kabul. They said that the commander has brought two Taliban commanders to the district and currently half of the profits the mine makes go towards supporting the Taliban. "The commander had only 10 to 20 people and captured the mine. He is unprofessional and is senselessly extracting the mine and now he has 200 people," said Abdul Raouf Enami, secretary of Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament). The lawmaker lashed out at the government for its failure to ensure the security of mines and said that elements inside the government are supporting smugglers of mines. "No doubt that elements inside the government are supporting these individuals,"  said Enami, adding that proving these allegations needs time. "When the National Unity Government was established people hoped that the mine will be taken from the strongmen. Unfortunately, 60 percent of the revenue of the mine fills the Taliban's pockets,"  said Jawed Mujadidi, a member of Badakhshan provincial council. "If they don't have supporters inside the government, then what is the reason that they loot mines and the government is doing nothing to stop them," he added. Currently, the Taliban and illegal armed groups are extracting mines in different provinces of Afghanistan. "It is the duty of law enforcement organizations to ensure the security of mines and prevent their illegal extraction and our duty is to pave the ground for legal extraction and awarding contracts of the mines that in terms of security are safe to extract," said Mohiuddin Noori, spokesman for the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum. Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior (MoI), said that the criminal investigation institutions of the ministry are working to prevent smuggling of precious stones and illegal extraction of mines. Ebrahim Jafari, a member of the Natural Resources Monitoring Network said that the Taliban has access to most of the natural resources in Afghanistan.

The lawmakers, said that currently a number of residents in the district have stood against the illegal armed group and taken up positions in the mountains of the district and have asked the commander to remove the Taliban.