Taliban strengthen grip on mining operations in Afghanistan

November 7, 2016 02:11

Afghan Taliban militants have strengthened their grip on lucrative illegal mining operations in the north of the country, as security forces focus most of their efforts on battling the insurgency in the volatile south, officials said.

Abuses by local commanders with private militias and beyond the purview of central government have also driven people into the hands of Islamist fighters, the officials added, making it easier for them to profit from small-scale mines in the region.

"The Taliban provide protection for the villagers to mine and the people are happy to do it despite the fact that there's a presidential decree banning any uncontrolled mining," said Gul Mohammad Bedar, deputy governor of Badakhshan province.

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