Illegal mining of precious stones in an eastern Afghan province is depriving its impoverished residents of resources and their country of much-needed revenue.
As per Gandhara report, the residents of Kunar, a mountainous province bordering Pakistan in eastern Afghanistan, say the illegal mining of precious stones has increased in the region’s Manogay and Chapa Dara districts.
“The illegal mining is not benefiting the people or the government. All revenues generated are ending in the coffers of armed opponents of the government or local strongmen,” Abdullah, a resident of Manogay, told Radio Free Afghanistan. “So far, the authorities have done nothing to stop the illegal excavations or smuggling.”
Kunar’s once-forested mountains are rife with the deposits of semiprecious tourmaline, aquamarine, kunzite, topaz, garnet, and various kinds of quartz. The region also has deposits of lapis lazuli and fluorite. Expensive gems such as sapphires, ruby, and emeralds are mined in the restive province, which shares a long border with Pakistan and where the Taliban and other insurgents control large swathes of rural territories.