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Afghanistan’s Mineral Law Rejected by the Cabinet after a Lengthy Discussion

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Afghanistan’s Mineral Law Rejected by the Cabinet after a Lengthy Discussion

Afghanistan’s Cabinet did not approve the Mineral Law draft. President Karzai has said that the document requires further discussion and “the national interest of both present and future of Afghanistan must be protected in this document by all means.”

According to the reports, some ministers declined some of the matters highlighted in the document, while others gave their approval for it. Afghan officials do not reveal what aspects of the draft are not agreed upon by the Cabinet members.

Ministry of Justice says that a number of ministers want a further and a more profound study of the draft. According to Sayed Yusuf Halim, Deputy Head of Ministry of Justice, some ministers want their views to be incorporated in the draft.

“Some ministers suggested that the draft should be carefully reviewed and their comments should be reflective of their comments and views. Therefore, the Cabinet decided to include the ministers’ suggestion into the document. Ministry of Justice is awaiting receipt of written comments of the ministers to be reflected in the document.”

Mr. Halim said that the process may take less than two months. But, Ministry of Mines is hoping to present the second draft to the Cabinet within 2 weeks.

“Afghanistan’s Mining Law, Minerals Law, and Hydrocarbon Law entail further discussion and feedback. Therefore, President Karzai instructed the relevant authorities to search for opinions and views that would help secure the national interest in the document as much as possible. The document will be presented to the Cabinet in 2 weeks,” Ministry of Mines Deputy Head Jawad Omar said.

A recent survey by the U.S. Geological Survey and Pentagon team reveals that Afghanistan is rich in resources of iron, copper, and other rare earth metals.  However, they are concerned that in case of any shortcoming in the mining and mineral laws of Afghanistan, the resources might be misused and possibly looted.

Afghanistan is in the top list of the index for corruption and is also listed as one of the poorest countries in the world by the UN. Afghans have now tied their hopes to their natural resources that would help steer the country towards development.

The world community is also interested to seeing the extraction of the minerals to begin soon in the country so that it can become economically self-reliant.

Afghan and international officials have said to the New York Times that as long as Afghanistan’s mineral laws are not in parallel with the international standards, major foreign firms will not show much enthusiasm for investment in Afghanistan.

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