ISIS fighters in Afghanistan are making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year from unlawful mining of talc, much which winds up in the United States and Europe, advocacy group International Witness reported on Tuesday.
About 500,000 tonnes of talc, used in products varying from paint to talcum powder, were exported from Afghanistan in the year to March, inning accordance with Afghan mining ministry figures pointed out in the group’s report.
Almost all went to Pakistan, where much of it is re-exported. Pakistan offers more than a 3rd of US imports of talc and much also ends up in the European Union, it stated.
” Unwitting American and European customers are inadvertently helping fund extremist groups in Afghanistan,” Nick Donovan, Campaign Director at Global Witness, stated in a statement, requiring more powerful examine imports.
Prohibited mining of gems and minerals such as lapis lazuli is a significant source of earnings for Taliban insurgents and the report stated ISIS was defending control of mines in Nangarhar, the province where it has its stronghold.
Nangarhar, on the border with Pakistan, has big deposits of talc along with minerals such as chromite and marble, and sits on significant smuggling routes utilized for drugs and other contraband.
The report estimated a senior ISIS militant leader as stating that wresting control of mining properties from other armed groups in Nangarhar was a concern: “The mines are in the hands of the mafia … At any price we will take the mines.”
Security authorities in Afghanistan have actually long been worried about the unrestrained traffic in Nangarhar of products like talc and chromite, which the Global Witness report said “may be the least glamorous of dispute minerals”.
It stated that while it was difficult to approximate the value of the trade to ISIS, earnings from mining in Nangarhar might amount “anywhere from the high tens of thousands to the low countless dollars a year”. Someplace in the hundreds of thousands was a possible mid-range estimate, it included.
The amount did not appear really high, it said, however the US military approximated the strength of Islamic State in Nangarhar at somewhere in between 750 to 2,000 fighters, suggesting the funds would be a substantial source of profits to the motion.
An Afghan mining ministry spokesman said an unique committee had currently been developed to collaborate methods to the problem with security and intelligence services. The ministry planned a press conference this week to resolve some of the specific concerns raised in the report.
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