Afghanistan: Seven goldminers perish in a month in Takhar, say sources

In a distressing trend, at least seven miners have lost their lives while engaged in gold extraction in the northeastern province of Takhar over the past month, according to local sources. It has been revealed that dire economic circumstances have compelled many residents to take up perilous work in these goldmines.

Haji Gul, a 30-year-old miner, found himself trapped under wreckage during an incident that occurred last Sunday in the Do Rahi Kokcha area in Dasht-e-Qala district ofTakhar.

Takhar is endowed with numerous goldmines, located in Chah Aab, Rustaq, Khwajaghar, Yangiqala districts, and the Khatayan village.

Sources confirmed that the Taliban does not oppose the illegal extraction of these goldmines, further exacerbating the perilous conditions in these operations.

Mahmood, a resident of Takhar who has spent many years working in these goldmines, spoke of the economic compulsion that drives individuals into this hazardous profession. “It has been roughly 30 years since we started working here. There are no other opportunities. Our economic situation is dire. We are left with no choice but to engage in this work, just to survive,” he explained.

Gold mining has become a common occupation for the youth in Takhar, but it is undeniably hazardous, and the lack of standardized safety measures has claimed the lives of many.

Farid, a Rustaq resident, expressed his grief and concern over the loss of lives in these mining activities.

“We constantly witness the tragic loss of our children in these gold mines. Every year, numerous people perish while toiling in the mines. We earnestly hope that illegal mining activities will be curtailed,” he said.

Sayed Massoud, a former economy lecturer at Kabul University, decried the illegal extraction of mines, viewing it as a betrayal of the people of Afghanistan.

He stressed the need to establish standard safety measures in this industry.

“I believe these illegal mining operations amount to plunder and a betrayal of one human being against another on this land. It’s possible that illiterate and untrained individuals are engaging in this industry, and they should be provided with better conditions,” he said.

It is worth noting that the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum under the Taliban’s administration recently announced a contract for the extraction of goldmines in the Samti area of Cha Aaab district in Takhar, involving a Chinese company. Under the terms of the agreement, the Taliban will receive 56 percent of the mineral yields, while the Chinese company will be entitled to 44 percent.