Afghanistan’s Lapis Lazuli is a ‘Conflict Mineral’ Fueling War in the Country

TAGS:     ,


By SisiBroad | June 9, 2016 12:00 am

Afghanistan’s mineral wealth is helping fuel the war that has long ravaged the country, with armed anti-government groups, including the Taliban, earning up to $20 million a year from illegal mining of lapis lazuli, a London-based corruption watchdog said on Monday.

The total earned by armed groups in 2014 was $19.9 million, the group added, noting that a local strongman identified as Abdul Malek had paid $750,000 in protection money to the Taliban out of proceeds from the illegal lapis lazuli mining. Last year, Malek paid the Taliban $4 million, the report says.3

Afghanistan's Lapis Lazuli is a 'Conflict Mineral' Fueling War in the Country

Afghanistan’s Lapis Lazuli is a ‘Conflict Mineral’ Fueling War in the Country

Much of the illegal lapis lazuli exports go to China, “where it is prized as jewelry,” Global Witness says. “The fact that Chinese lapis sales are funding the Taliban comes in contrast to the Chinese government’s official position as peace-broker on Afghanistan in regional security talks.” Beijing is part of four-country consultations with Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States aimed at bringing the Taliban into a peace dialogue to end the war.

In a report last year, the U.S. government’s Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said Afghanistan’s minerals and hydrocarbons sector had the potential to “provide the Afghan government with billions in much needed funds in the coming decades.”

But SIGAR also questioned Kabul’s ability to develop the sector in a sustainable and coordinated way, noting that the $488 million that the U.S. government has invested to help develop Afghanistan’s extractive industries “could be wasted.”

“These lapis mines are one of the richest assets of the Afghan people and should be driving development and prosperity,” said Stephen Carter, the Afghan campaign leader for Global Witness. “The mines provide a tiny fraction of the benefit they should, and have become a major source of conflict and grievance.”

The Taliban are expected to step up attacks this year as their new leader, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, moves to consolidate his position after his predecessor, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan last month.

top_banner PRINT THIS

Comments are closed.



  • rek1
  • rek2

    Jan OvlandJan Ovland
    Ann TyllerAnn Tyller
    Dan BartDan Bart
    Serge KSerge K
  • RSS Top News

    • Hurricane Maria and Puerto Rico's Neo-Colonial Legacy - The New Yorker October 18, 2017
      The New YorkerHurricane Maria and Puerto Rico's Neo-Colonial LegacyThe New YorkerTwo of the Spanish-American War's last battles were fought near Aibonito, Puerto Rico, on land now owned by Ramón Rivera. Photograph by Christopher Gregory for The New Yorker. The view southward from the Asomante hills outside the Puerto Rican ...FEMA Chief Blamed for Katrina Response Says […]
    • Police: A surviving victim of Maryland gunman knows suspect - CNN October 18, 2017
      CNNPolice: A surviving victim of Maryland gunman knows suspectCNN(CNN) A gunman who authorities say killed three people and wounded two others at his job in Maryland early Wednesday shot a sixth person at a Wilmington, Delaware, car dealership hours later, officials said. Radee Labeeb Prince, 37, shot the male ...Three killed in shooting at a […]
    • Las Vegas guard Jesus Campos tells Ellen DeGeneres: 'I felt a burning sensation' when I was shot - Fox News October 18, 2017
      Fox NewsLas Vegas guard Jesus Campos tells Ellen DeGeneres: 'I felt a burning sensation' when I was shotFox NewsMandalay Bay security guard Jesus Campos and engineer Stephen Schuck spoke to 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show' in an interview that aired Wednesday. (Michael Rozman/Warner Bros./Handout via REUTERS). The Mandalay Bay security guard who briefly ...Las Vegas shooting survivor, […]
    • Obama's Name to Replace Jefferson Davis' on Mississippi School - NBCNews.com October 18, 2017
      NBCNews.comObama's Name to Replace Jefferson Davis' on Mississippi SchoolNBCNews.comA public elementary school in Mississippi named after the president of the Confederacy will be renamed to honor the first black president of the United States. Davis Magnet International Baccalaureate Elementary, which is named for Jefferson Davis ...Mississippi School Named After Jefferson Davis to be Renamed After […]
    • Trump offered a grieving military father $25000 in a call, but didn't follow through - Washington Post October 18, 2017
      Washington PostTrump offered a grieving military father $25000 in a call, but didn't follow throughWashington PostPresident Trump, in a personal phone call to a grieving military father, offered him $25,000 and said he would direct his staff to establish an online fundraiser for the family, but neither happened, the father said. Chris Baldridge, the father […]
  • RSS NYC Latest News