Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, September 21st, 2020

Illegal Extraction and Smuggling of Mineral Resources - A National Loss!

A traditional view about Afghanistan's economy is that around 70 percent of its economy is dependent on agriculture sector. That is a fact. But at least in the post-Taliban Afghanistan this sector has had no significant development. Keeping self sufficiency aside, major portion of our food needs are fulfilled by imports from various countries of the world. This has made Afghanistan a consuming country while the local production has been very low. The condition of industrial sector is also the same. Except some factories producing beverages, Afghanistan has no major products. While on the agriculture side, Afghanistan has only one major export which is the dry fruits.

Economy experts maintain and emphasize that one sector that can change the fate of Afghanistan's economy is its mineral deposits. Studies have estimated that Afghan minerals worth several trillion dollars. This has changed the traditional view of Afghan economy which was majorly related to agriculture. The Afghanistan mineral resources are deemed to change this country's status from 'very poor' to 'rich.' This is conceived that, the mining sector will create job opportunities more than the real needs of Afghanistan. Although insecurity is considered the biggest obstacle for extraction of Afghan minerals, efforts are underway for extracting deposits located in comparatively secure provinces of Afghanistan like Bamyan.

Apart from the security concerns that keep away investors from the mining sector of Afghanistan, unprofessional extraction of minerals and their smuggling to other countries have been a great national loss. It is the responsibility of Ministries of Mines and Interior to protect the location where the natural deposits exist. Unfortunately, so far there is no such activity that is aimed at preventing illegal extraction and smuggling of the natural resources of Afghanistan. For instance, there have been reports about illegal extractions from azurite mine in Badakhshan province of Afghanistan and the problem still persists but the government has failed to address it.

Afghanistan's mineral resources are the future of hope for Afghanistan and can bring this country out of the severe economic troubles it is facing today. Therefore, not only strict security should be considered to these resources but also they should be extracted in a proper, transparent and effective way.