Taliban start digging Ghazni mines, claims governor
GHAZNI CITY (Pajhwok): The Taliban have started digging mines in southern Ghazni province, the governor claimed on Wednesday, but the rebels denied.
Governor Mohammad Aman Hamim told reporters here that the armed insurgents had started extracting minerals in five areas of the province.
He claimed the Taliban were smuggling the riches to Pakistan where the minerals were sold at throwaway prices.
“Taliban come and extract minerals in areas where security forces do not exist. They do it fearlessly,” claimed the governor, who alleged Pakistani engineers were assisting the Taliban in digging the mines.
The governor said the mineral deposits were a good source of income for the insurgents but most of the income went to Pakistan instead of the Afghan Taliban.
The governor said very soon a major operation would be launched in areas where the insurgents were plundering the national wealth.
Hamim said currently the insurgents were in control of Zana Khan, Waghaz, Maqur, Nahur districts and some other areas.
“Taliban do not allow anyone to the sites. Pakistanis have also come and are digging for minerals. They have luxurious vehicles.”
A resident of Waghaz district, Mohammad Hanif, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the Taliban had launched digging mines in the town.
“There are mines in Ranakhel area and Taliban are extracting them and selling to Pakistani people.” The resident said sometimes heavy explosions could be heard at the sites and the blasts had created fears among residents.
But the Taliban strongly rejected the claims. Their spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Pajhwok Afghan News the fighters were not involved in such activities nowhere in the country.
“These are fighting days, the Taliban have no time to extract minerals, this a government propaganda,” Mujahid said, adding no Pakistani engineer had been spotted in Ghazni.
A number of lawmakers have been claiming that Taliban and illegal armed groups are extracting minerals in a number of areas without being interrupted.
A day earlier, a report claimed Islamic State fighters have started smuggling timber from eastern Nangarhar province.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.