Rising global demand for cosmetics, marble and stainless steel is helping Taliban and Islamic State militants in Afghanistan fund their increasingly violent insurgencies, according to an investigation by Global Witness.
The militant groups make millions of dollars annually mining talc, chromite and marble in eastern part of the war-torn nation. The international NGO in a report on Tuesday estimates the Taliban earns $2.5 million to $10 million a year from mining talc alone.
It is unclear how much Islamic State’s local affiliate, which has fought and taken over mining areas from the Taliban in three districts of Nangarhar province, has managed to exploit the mines, according to Global Witness.
“The relationship between the Islamic State and mining is powerful and worrying, but it is only a case study for what is a much larger problem,” said Nick Donovan, a campaign director at Global Witness.
“Not just insurgent groups but also a host of other illegal, semi-legal and legal armed groups across the country benefit from mining. The Taliban in Nangarhar province demonstrate this with particular force.”
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