Research conducted on cross-border trade with Afghanistan and Pakistan shows that precious and semi-precious stones worth $267 million USD are being smuggled out of the country to Pakistan every year.
The study, conducted by a Kabul University lecturer with the help of an aid organization, said the stones are smuggled under the names of coal and decorative white stones. The semi-precious and precious stones include ruby, emerald, alabaster, azure, marble, among others.
The research findings state that a large portion of Afghanistan's natural resources will disappear if government does not stop the practice.
According to the findings, powerful figures play a key role in the smuggling of the stones which is mostly done across open borders of Afghanistan.
"The findings of our research shows that precious and semi-precious stones worth $267 million USD are annually smuggled to Pakistan through open borders of the country," Kabul University lecturer, Hasibullah Moahid told TOLOnews on Saturday.
He urged government to draw a workable plan for preventing this illegal trend.
Meanwhile, officials in the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum said they have drafted a plan for preventing smuggling of precious and semi-precious stones, and that illegal mining will also be prevented after implementing of the plan.
"We have prepared a plan which includes the code of the services for processing precious stones, serious cooperation with security forces in preventing illegal mining and smuggling of stones," the spokesman for Ministry of Mines and
Petroleum, Muhayuddin Noori told TOLOnews. "We will stop illegal extraction of mines by implementing the plan."
This comes amid rising concern by analysts who say the increase in illegal trade between Afghanistan and Pakistan is detrimental to the country's development and that government should stop this practice as soon as possible.