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Nephrite jade's Illegal extraction continues in Parwan

Nephrite jade's Illegal extraction continues in Parwan

Jul 10, 2016 - 19:16

CHARIKAR (Pajwho): Residents and officials say nephrite stone is illegally extracted in Koh-i-Safi district of central Parwan province.

They say the nephrite mine in Nili area of the district is extracted by Taliban militants, but the rebels reject the claim.

However, Parwan police chief said illegal extraction of the mine has been stopped.

Nephrite jade is an ornamental stone, used in carvings, beads, or cabochon cut gemstones.

Haji Mohammad Wali Safi, head of Koh-i-Safi development council, said a nephrite mine is located in Nili area, which is currently under Taliban control.

He said over the past six months, Taliban have been extracting the gemstone from the mine discovered last year.

Afghan forces have recently launched an operation against illegal extractors and destroyed their power generators, machines, tents and other equipment, he said.

The operation was launched on June 16. At the time, Parwan police chief had said six people involved in the extraction were detained and the area was completely cleared of militants.

However, Safi said the Taliban again started extraction of the stone three days after the operation came to an end.

He said the extraction was currently underway and nephrite stones were carried on donkeys to some distance and then transferred through trucks to Tagab and Sarobi districts and then to Pakistan.

Safi added residents of Koh-i-Safi could not tolerate the illegal extraction but they also could not resist the Taliban.

Chromites mines are also available in northern parts of the district, but they are not extracted by anyone, he said.

Malak Jumma Gul, a resident of Dandar area of Koh-i-Safi district, also said the nephrite mine was being extracted by Taliban in Nili area.

He added a number of residents of the area who worked at the mine were receiving money from militants.

Parwan mines and petroleum director, Abdul Ahad Asad, confirmed Taliban were involved in the extraction and said a plan was being devised to prevent it.

He said security forces would also prevent smuggling of the stones through Sarobi and Tagab districts.

However, Parwan police chief Brig. Gen. Mohammad Zaman Mamozai rejected the extraction activity after the operation and said Afghan forces would never allow insurgents to exploit national assets.

“The extraction of the mine has stopped after we arrested six militants and destroyed their equipment. We control the area from the air, anyone trying to extract the mine illegally would be targeted by airstrikes,” he said.

But the Taliban rejected their involvement in the mine extraction. Their spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said, “We reject such claims, we have no such program in this area, possibly some warlords or local residents are involved in the extraction, but we would try to prevent it.”

mds/ma