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Special security unit being created to protect mines

Monitoring Desk

JALALABAD: Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP) on Sunday announced a special security unit would be created to prevent illegal extraction and ensure transparency in the mining sector.

Abdul Qadir Mutfa, the MoMP spokesman, made the announcement at a media briefing in Jalalabad, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province, Sunday.

He acknowledged militant groups posed a serious threat to the exploitation of mines. However, he said, a special security unit would be created soon to deal with the problem.

He added the ministry had shared information with the relevant organs regarding the mines under threat of illegal extraction. So far 100 mines had been secured, the official claimed.

All mining contracts signed previously were marred by flaws that paved the ground for smuggling and illegal extraction. That is why the ministry has suspended the signing of new contracts or extending the old ones.

He admitted the government was still unable to supervise the country’s natural resources in a number of provinces due to a militant presence. The mines could be dug up illegally in such areas, he suggested.

About the situation in Nangarhar, Mutfa said mines in the province were under serious threats and the aim of his trip was to reduce the threats and seeking the local administration’s cooperation.

He said that replacing the mines and petroleum director for Nangarhar was also aimed to reform and better control mines in the province. The ministry would not sign new contracts until security for mines is ensured.

There are many mineral sources such as marbles, chromite, nephrite and others in Nangarhar. Marble extraction and processing officials say they are obligated to close the factories if their contracts are not extended.

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