Photo sent to KabulNow

Taliban commander beat people, destroyed lands during gold hunt in Takhar

Local sources reported that several locals were beaten or detained and swathes of land were destroyed in the Dasht-e-Qala district of Takhar province when a Taliban commander launched a hunt for gold.

The commander, Mullah Kamal Khan, commands a battalion of the Taliban’s Defence Ministry in the district, sources told KabuNow.

The sources indicated that his men, supervised by Chinese engineers, began digging up and destroying agricultural lands using excavators in the district’s Pul Kokcha area on Monday morning— seething local farmers with anger and fear.

When local farmers tried to resist the mining in this remote region, the Taliban commander used force to beat at least ten people and detained three others.

Ansarullah Ansar, Taliban’s provincial head of Information and Culture, did not respond to KabulNow’s questions about this matter. But, the group’s security spokesperson in Takhar said that the lands where extraction was taking place are claimed by the group’s Defence Ministry.

Takhar holds vast mineral deposits including gold with most of its mines located in Chah Aab, Rustaq, Dasht-e-Qala, Kalafgan, and Khwaja Ghar districts, as well as Taloqan.

The Taliban authorities suspended gold mining in the province earlier this year, rendering thousands of workers jobless as mining companies halted operations.

While Taliban authorities vowed to resume the extraction of gold mining in Takhar, many feared the dramatic rise in unemployment was leading to soaring crime across the province.

Afghanistan is one of the world’s most resource-rich countries and reportedly sits on an estimated $1 trillion worth of rare earth minerals, including huge deposits of gold.

Since overtaking power two years ago, the Taliban have pinned their hopes on the country’s vast and untapped mineral resources by raking in considerable revenues from mining to revitalize its economy.