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Civil society wants gold, copper contracts scrapped

Security & Crime

آرشيف

Civil society wants gold, copper contracts scrapped

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Oct 14, 2018 - 14:20

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Civil societyinfo-icon organisations and activists, spurning the idea of privatising the war in Afghanistaninfo-icon, have called for cancellation of the Badakhshan gold and Balkhab copper exploration contracts.

The contracts for extracting gold and copper were signed at the Afghan embassy in Washington DC between the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP), Central Limited and Afghan Gold Minerals Company.

A gathering attended by more than 300 civil society activists and members of some organisations in Kabul unanimously passed a resolution against the mining contracts and privatisation of the war effort.

Syed Akram Afzali, head of the Integrity Watch Afghanistan (IWA), told the gathering the contracts with the two companies ran counter to Article 16 of Afghanistan’s mining law.

Article 16 of the law says the president, VPs, ministers, chief justice, Supreme Court judges, the attorney general, MPs, chairmen of central and other banks and other government functionaries are not eligible for obtaining such contracts.

Based on Section 1 and Paragraph 2 of the article, one may obtain a licence or a contract stipulated in this law five years after the termination of their tenure in an official position.

Afzali stressed that based on the article the contract should not have been awarded to Syed Sadat Mansour Naderi, one of the stakeholders in the companies. He resigned as minister only four months ago.

Naderi stepped down as minister of urban development and housing in order to retain his mining contracts involving the Badakhshan gold and Balkhab copper mines, Afzali alleged.

The president and officials around him had violated the law by providing the contracts to the companies, the IWA head insisted.

He linked the signing of the deals with externalinfo-icon pressures, asking the government not to impose foreign dictates on the people of the country.

If the government failed to resist these pressures or defend national resources, Afzali said, the people were not weak and had the ability to defend their country and rights.

“The government failed to play its role under the mining law and singed the contracts.” While asking the government to protect the interests of the people in accordance with the constitution, Afzali also called on international community, especially the US, to revoke the contracts.

According to Afzali, the security situation is not appropriate in Badakhshan and Sar-i-Pul where the two mines are located. The country was not yet ready to handle such huge contracts, he believed.

The IWA chief said the government should revise the two deals because the ministry concerned currently did have the capacity to deal with large contracts.

Gul Ahmad Madadzai, deputy head of the Afghanistan Lawyers Association, also claimed the government singed the contracts against Article 16 of the mining law under international pressure.

He warned the government against testing people’s patience anymore. The contracts must be scrapped at the earliest possible, he demanded.

Opposition to privatisation of war

Afzali expressed aversion to the privatisation of the conflict in Afghanistan, arguing private firms were unable to ensure security or guarantee the defeat of the armed opposition.

Recent media reports suggest Blackwater founder Erick Prince has stepped up efforts for privatising the conflict in Afghanistan.

Aziz Rafi, a civil society leader, suggested a responsible approach should be taken to the security of natural resources and assets of the country.

In the build-up to the October 20 Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon elections, the debate on privatisation of war and signing of major mining contracts was dangerous, he concluded.

sa/mud

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