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Nuristan [Afghanistan], November 16 (ANI): With the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan facing a dire financial crisis, local miners cite foreign footprints spotted in the country's mining area exploiting mineral wealth, according to a media report.

According to Paradox Politics, Afghan miners claimed that they have spotted foreigners, possibly Russians, surveying the mineral-rich area. However, they are happy with the entry of outsiders into the mine.

People living in Afghanistan's isolated and least populated province, Nuristan have been dependent on mines to earn their livelihood. They dug gems including tourmaline, kunzite, aquamarine, spodumene and beryl - to sell at the local markets, Paradox Politics reported.

Speaking to Paradox, one of the young miners said: "But if they come in, maybe we can get a proper salary and it will be safer."According to the United States Department of Defense, Afghanistan rests atop more than one trillion dollars in natural resources - from precious and semi-precious stones, gold, copper, iron, and lithium, to ore and hydrocarbons - all ripe for large-scale mining.

In September, top Taliban officials had announced their government would primarily depend on China for financial assistance.

"Half the wealth of Afghanistan is in Panjshir," Haji Asad, a Taliban Commander said adding that "And now we have it."Panjshir hosts the country's pre-eminent emerald supply, with a single carat commanding up to 1,500 US dollars on the international market following excavation from Afghanistan mines, Paradox Politics reported.

"They (the Taliban) have their share in our mines, and when we find something, they take their share from us," one of the Nuristani miners told Paradox.

Naweed Adil, the director of large-scale mining at the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum in the former Ghani-led government, said the sector's future remains somewhat "dubious" under the Taliban regime, indicating it is a risk for outside investors.

"China has already invested around 400 million US dollars, constructing buildings and exploration, but they have not started copper extraction," he said.

The drilling could come at the cost of harming Afghanistan's most prized tokens of history.

Taliban has been quick to point out that Afghans have not benefitted from the foreign footprints in the mining arena over the past two decades - a notion that is largely true but also the fault of the Taliban-induced security situation - it is clear they will rely on outside players like Russia, China and Iran to do the heavy lifting, according to Paradox Politics. (ANI)

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