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Warlords behind illegal extraction of natural resources: Minister

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“They are also involved in smuggling of jade and azurite to China and Pakistan,” says minister.

Abdul Zuhoor Qayomi-KABUL: Minister of Mines and Petroleum Dawood Shah Saba on Wednesday said that some influential people were busy in extraction of natural resources illegally. The natural resources were smuggled to the neighboring countries after extraction.

Dawood Shah Sabah told this to the Wolesi Jirga. He was summoned by the Wolesi Jirga for explanation over non-implementation of the mining projects and illegal extraction of mines. He said the influential people were digging for and smuggling jade and azurite to China and Pakistan.

He termed insecurity a major problem to prevent the warlords from extraction and smuggling of the natural resources, saying that a committee to ensure security of the resources has been proposed. He said the interior minister would be the head of committee.

The minister further said that out of 898 tunnels in Dare-e-Sof coal mine, 400 were closed. However, he acknowledged that extraction of the mines could not be stopped due to pressure of the warlords, adding that the influence of some people has frightened the contractors.

According to the proposed mechanism, the security forces should ensure security of all mines. Briefing the lawmakers over the key projects, he said the ministry had started work over 12 projects. Sheberghan Gas Pipeline project is the major project. The ministry would supply gas from Sheberghan to Mazar-e-Sharif through a 95km pipeline. The project will be implemented by the Afghan experts for the first time. The production of gas will increase to 750,000 cubic meters. Currently the field produces 400,000 cubic meter of gas per day.

The minister said that discussion is running with the glass production company in Balkh and the Energy Group for implantation of the same project.

Responding to a question he said that no ban was imposed on signing of new contracts, adding that 25 contracts were signed in the past three months.

Chief of the natural resources and environment committee of the Wolesi Jirga, Zekria Sauda, said that azurite of Badakhshan is illegally smuggled to Taiwan and China with Pakistani trademark. Sami Sameem, an MP from Herat, said that Herat marble is illegally smuggled to Iran.