Jagdalak rubies end up in Peshawar

KABUL (Pajhwok): Habibur Rahman,over 90 years of age, guards the Jagdalak ruby mine in central Kabul province. In the not-so-distant-past, the nonagenarian confesses to illegally extracting selling the gemstone to Pakistani businessmen.

A son of Mohammad Khalif and grandson of Nasir Khan, the mine guardian told Pajhwok Afghan News they had been engaged the business over generations. Their clients included buyers from Peshawar, Momand and Bajaur tribal regions.

Nasir Khan was appointed as the custodian of the mine in Sarobi district during King Amanullah Khan’srule. His grandson Habib claimed the Jagdalak ruby had long been smuggled to the Namak MandiMarket in Peshawar.

He said his grandfather -- one the area’s well-offand influential people -- had been entrusted by the government of the day as caretaker the mine. The man’s enormous clout is proverbial: Na ba tal Nasir Khan wee aw na ba ye tal sra ookhan wee.(Neither Nasir Khan nor his camelswill remain alive forever.)

Since Afghanistan never had ruby-processing equipment, traders had been legally or illegally taking the gemstone to Peshawar, where it is cut and polished before being sold in India, the United States, the United Kingdom and other countries.

Rahman argued the quality of machines and expertise of operators lured traders to take the Jagdalak rubies to in Peshawar for cutting and polishing. If extracted professionally, the gemstones were sold at high prices, he said.

After the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, he migrated to Pakistan.But he returned to his hometown after the ouster of the Taliban regime in late 2001.Rahman accused local officials of allowing some residents to extractrubies in return for bribes.


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