Ministry of Mines and Petroleum on Wednesday said it has developed a policy to ensure the safety of mining and ensure the safety of mining projects among other issues.
The policy was prepared by Mines Protection Committee – which was established last year under the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, but it also includes security ministries.
“In order to prevent illegal mining, in this plan we have specified the areas where we are faced with serious problems. Military operations need to be carried out in these areas. This commission follows all paths related to this matter,” said Abdulqadeer Mutfi, spokesman for Ministry of Mines and Petroleum.
Meanwhile, TOLOnews has obtained documents which show that required measures have not been put into place to ensure the safety of an imported gas pipeline project from Turkmenistan to Jawzjan and then to Balkh province in the north of Afghanistan.
The documents show that the office of the deputy minister of interior for public protection has decided to send 40 soldiers to secure the safety of the project, however it was requested by those involved in the project to send 80 soldiers. Meanwhile, the documents show that the 40 soldiers are faced with a lack of military equipment.
“Government does not have the capability to deploy more forces to ensure the security (of mining projects),” said Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi, a lawmaker.
“The region of the project is very wide. It is 180 km. Therefore, it is felt the area lacks security,” said Mohammad Hassan Sharifi Balkhabi, an MP.
However, the Ministry of Interior said Afghan police are ready to ensure the security of such projects.
“The lack of equipment and facilities has been raised because the public protection office is an enterprise and it provides its needs on its own, but we are ready to address their problem if it exists,” said Najib Danish, spokesman for Ministry of Interior.
Analysts say insecurity is one of the main barriers mining projects face in Afghanistan and is often the cause of delays.