ALP officer illicitly digging up chromite


KABUL (PAN): The Integrity Watch Afghanistan on Sunday alleged an Afghan Local Police (ALP) commander was illegally extracting chromite in huge quantity over the past year with cooperation from foreign troops in eastern Kunar province.


After a year-long investigation, the non-governmental organisation released a report on the unlawful extraction of chromite in the Akhunzadagan village of KhasKunar district by the ALP Commander Noor Mohammad and his deputy Farhad.

The report released at a press conference in Kabul said the Task Force for Business Stability Operation (TFBSO), a wing of the US Department of Defence, had provided to the commander in the mineral-rich area a chromite-ore crusher to process the stone.

A member of the Integrity Watch Afghanistan, JavedNoorani, told reporters 70 tonnes of chromite were daily hauled up in the area in violation of the relevant law.

Over the past five years, he alleged, local residents had also been involved in illegal extraction of precious stones, but the powerful commander drove them and had been doing so over the past year.

He said their investigation showed 1,400 individuals, including 710 in Kabul limits, were complicit in the smuggling of precious stones across the country. However, he did not name anyone.

The report asked the government to investigate the illegal digging of mines, stop the practice and bring those involved to justice.

It called for boosting transparency in the bidding process through the mines law and policy, asking the government to inform the nation and the parliament every six months about the unlawful extraction of mines.

The report warned if police commanders continued to be involved in the illegal extraction of mines, the situation could fuel further instability, encouraging organised mafia.

But Commander Noor Mohammad told Pajhwok Afghan News no illegal extraction had happened in Kunar, saying they had just collected chromite crumbs dug up by residents.

“Government forces are present in the area. I am ready to stand trial, if found guilty of smuggling a single stone. This is untrue,” he said.

Interior Ministry spokesman Siddiqui Siddique said he could not confirm if Noor Mohammad was an ALP commander in the area.

“We have been trying to stop illicit extraction of mines in all parts of the country. We are ready to assist the mines ministry in any manner it wants,” he concluded.


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