During an interview with Pajhwok, Sherzad district chief Muallim Mashooq said Taliban earned 12 million Pakistani rupees (nearly 7.7 million afghanis or $113,240) each month in income from the extraction of Markikhel and Kadikhel mines of precious stones and marbles situated in areas under their control.
“The government has no control in these areas and people who know Taliban leaders get the extraction contracts. These mineral are extracted in an unprofessional way and 70 percent of the profit goes to Taliban,” he said.
“The mines provide financial support to Taliban which they use in spreading insecurity in Sherzad district,” he said, adding that pine forests were being cut down with instructions from Pakistan and smuggled to that country.
“In compliance with a presidential order, we controlled and reduced the smuggling of the stones by 70 percent, but we can’t fully control the smuggling,” he said, adding some contractors were currently shifting the stones to Jalalabad.
“Precious stones are smuggled to Pakistan through Kurram tribal region, but marble stones are brought to Jalalabad through different ways,” he said.
He said the contractors bringing marbles to Jalalabad were not registered with the government and they might possess fake contracts.
Not only in Sherzad district, but mines in other bordering districts of the province are illegally extracted, the provincial council head said, adding that they had shared the issue with local authority. -Pajhwok, By Zeerak Fahim
THE PASHTUN TIMES