Taliban hosts exhibition to promote Panjshir emeralds

PANJSHIR, Afghanistan — Taliban inaugurated the “First Panjshir Emerald Exhibition” on Wednesday in Panjshir province, showcasing not only emeralds but also a variety of handicrafts and other domestic products.

According to the Taliban-run Ministry of Commerce, the three-day event features exhibits from the iron smelting sector, printing industries, as well as carpets and dairy products.

The ministry stated that the exhibition aims to “promote exports, display handicrafts, develop agriculture and livestock production, encourage the use of local products, and attract investment.”

However, Mohammad Agha Hakim, the Taliban governor of Panjshir, said at the opening ceremony that the main objective of the exhibition is to “encourage both domestic and international traders to purchase Afghan emeralds and market this valuable product.”

He mentioned that 1,200 emerald mines have been registered in Panjshir, with 500 of them actively operating under mining permits.

Despite these developments, the Taliban has faced criticism over the lack of transparency in the revenue generated from the country’s mines, particularly Panjshir’s emeralds. Critics have frequently questioned the awarding of sales contracts and the use of the funds obtained from these sales.

In the latest instance, two months ago, the Taliban sold nearly 2,700 carats of Panjshir emeralds for $204,000.