The militants have strengthened their grip on lucrative illegal mining operations in the north of the country, as security forces focus most of their efforts on battling the insurgency.
The chairman of IWA, Sayed Akram Afzali has declared that some figures in the government give the mining contracts to their relatives.
“The mining sector should become transparent, because it becomes a source of misfortune for Afghan people. The revenue goes to the powerful and terrorists’ pockets instead of the government,” Afazali said.
The Ministry of Mines also confirms the mining contracts are mostly given to the influential figures or relatives.
“Weakness in the Ministry of Mines caused the powerful and terrorist groups become more courageous for illegal extraction of mines,” said Narges Nehan, the acting minister of mines.
Lack of security and infrastructure has meant mine reserves in Afghanistan remain largely untapped, and up to 10,000 deposits are estimated to be outside government control.
Afghanistan is sitting on vast amounts of untapped natural resources which are believed to be the key to steer Afghanistan’s economy towards development and generate employment opportunities.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Afghanistan has nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits, enough to fundamentally alter the impoverished nation’s future.