HIA fighters in control of 2 Baghlan coalmines
PUL-I-KHUMRI (Pajhwok): Local officials in northern Baghlan province on Thursday acknowledged that armed men from the Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA), led by Gulbadin Hikmatyar, were in control of Karkar and Dudkash coalmines over the past one month.
Site engineer, Mohammad Nasim, told Pajhwok Afghan News the two mines were national assets but currently the coal excavation had been stopped because the two mines were under control of HIA commander Mirwais for the past one month.
“If the Afghan Coal Company which inks coal excavation contracts, and the government did not strive to wrest back control of the coal deposits, there is a chance fire may erupt and some parts of the mines may fall which will cause an unimaginable loss to the sites,” he said.
The engineer warned it could take years to restart extracting coal from the mines if some parts of the mines were burnt and fell down.
Police spokesman Ahmad Javed Basharat said no attention had been paid to the Karkar and Dudkash coalmines in the past and HIA fighters would sometimes visit the sites.
Mohammad Maroof Sarwari, head of the Afghan Coal Company, said coalminers at the two mines had been employed in the Cement Factory and work on the coalmines would begin when the government ensured security.
But Governor Abdul Sattar Barez accused the coal company of dismissing mine guards and asked the government to ensure security at the mines. He said in line with the contract, the Afghan Coal Company was responsible for security of the sites.
The Dudkash and Karkar coal reservoirs are situated 10 kilometres from Pul-i-Khumri, the provincial capital.
The mines were attacked by HIA fighters two months back and held around 40 people captive and took 11 vehicles from the sites. The kidnapped workers were later released with the help of local elders after sometime.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.