Al-Qaeda extracts mines in Afghanistan, Russian researcher claims

Georgy Grigorievich Machitidze, a researcher at an institute affiliated with the Russian Foreign Ministry, has claimed in an op-ed that al-Qaeda is involved in the extraction of mines in Afghanistan.

Machitidze highlighted the “good relations” between al-Qaeda and the Taliban, stating that al-Qaeda has established eight bases in the provinces of Ghazni, Laghman, Uruzgan, and Parwan, and maintains weapons storage in Panjshir province.

While the Taliban has consistently denied the presence of terrorist groups in Afghanistan, Machitidze argues that al-Qaeda is actively monitoring mines in Takhar and Badakhshan, which he views as a source of destabilization for both Afghanistan and the region. The op-ed stresses that al-Qaeda has been extracting mines by employing tens of thousands of workers and shares the proceeds with the Taliban.

According to Machitidze, al-Qaeda has earned $2 million from gold mines in Badakhshan province over the past two years. Additionally, the current al-Qaeda leader has urged fighters to return to Afghanistan for training, raising significant concerns among regional countries, including Russia.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has recently reiterated that the threat posed by Daesh and al-Qaeda continues to emanate from Afghanistan.