A recent survey by Afghanistan Anti-Corruption Network (AACN) has found that the country’s mines have become a revenue source for terrorist groups, mafia syndicates and powerful figures in the country.
The report states these groups received an estimated $46 million USD from illegal mining just from the Khogyani district in Nangarhar province last year.
According to the report, Daesh militants have also accessed a number of mines in Achin district in Nangarhar.
The report also shows that at least 45 tons of marble is being smuggled every day out of the country.
“Illegal mining and the smuggling to neighboring countries is (prevalent) in all parts of Afghanistan. This is not only used by big mafia groups across Afghanistan but it also benefits militants,” said AACN chairman Khan Zaman Amarkhail.
The survey has assessed illegal mining in the country’s east – particularly in Achin and Khogyani districts of Nangarhar, the AACN members said.
“Insurgents earned at least $46 million USD from illegal mining in Khogyani district in Nangarhar province last year,” said Samir Popal, a member of AACN.
The AACN members meanwhile criticized government over its lack of monitoring of mines in the country.
“The activities have been reported to executive authorities - which are the security agencies. They have been asked to cooperate and they have cooperated in some cases,” said Zabihullah Sarwari, spokesman for the Ministry of Mines.
The report meanwhile indicates that a number of smuggling routes are in government controlled areas.
Commenting on this, the Interior Ministry’s deputy spokesman Najibullah Danish said: “We don’t agree with the issue that minerals are smuggled through the routes which are under our control. We will investigate (these claims).”