FAIZABAD (Pajhwok): Illegal gunmen and insurgents have been digging up gold and lapis lazuli mines in northeastern Badakhshan province, local officials said on Monday.
Mohammad Akbar Anwari, Badakhshan mines director, told a press conference here that the lapis lazuli mines in Kuran wa Menjan district were being illegally dug up by irresponsible gunmen and the Taliban. The precious stone was then smuggled through Panjshir district.
He expressed concern over a lack of government’s control over mines, saying: “The gold mine in Raghistan district is also being extracted by Taliban through excavators. The insurgents purchase weapons and ammunition with income from the sale of the minerals.”
The official said his department had so far earned no revenue from the gold and lapis lazuli mines this ongoing year. “If the mines are recovered from the Taliban, it would earn Afghanistan a huge amount of income,” he remarked.
He said a recent survey conducted by the Mines and Petroleum Pepartment showed there existed different kinds of mines in districts.
He said the mines discovered included phosphorus mine in Miyami district and iron mines in Shaghnan and Arghankhwa districts.
Meanwhile, Abdul Haseeb Daqiq, the provincial economy department head, told the same press conference that about $3.5 million provided by India this year for Badakhshan’s development had been spent on various projects.
He said a study carried out by his found that some government departments had been delivered ‘imaginary’ projects without any investigation and monitoring.
Daqiq said an observation team would soon be created to monitor development projects. The team would be comprised of officials from various organizations and would seriously observe projects in order to ensure quality work.
Daqiq and Anwari called insecurity as main hurdle in the way of implementing programmes in the mines and economy sectors
He said the two departments could bring about positive change in people’s lives by executing uplift programmes if security was ensured.