US military could be smuggling uranium out of Afghanistan, locals say

KABUL (TCA) — A member of the Afghan parliament from Helmand Province and local residents have told Russia’s Sputnik Afghanistan news agency that the US military could be smuggling uranium, as well as other rare elements and natural resources, out of the village of Khanashin in the country’s southern province of Helmand.

Helmand is one of the most turbulent provinces in Afghanistan, and is a center of the country’s mining industry and the shadowy drug-smuggling industry. There are four deposits of uranium, magnetite, apatite and carbonite in the south of this region, in the southern village of Khanashin, just 160 km from the border with Pakistan.

According to earlier geological exploration works, the province has lucrative uranium and thorium deposits. It also contains vast resources of tantalum and other rare elements.

According to NASA estimates, there are also deposits of copper, iron and other metals worth of $81.2 billion. Until now, there was no industrial uranium mining in Afghanistan. During Taliban rule, the captives did all the mining.

Deputies of the lower chamber of the country’s parliament from the province of Helmand have repeatedly said that much evidence exists that uranium from Khanashin is being smuggled out in US cargo planes, Sputnik Afghanistan quotes local media reports as saying.

The deputies said that the US military have set up their military base near the uranium mines and smuggle uranium through it.

The deputies said that since the US military intervention back in 2001, the Americans and their British allies have concentrated their bases in this particular province as the largest uranium resources are concentrated there.

The uranium deposit in Khanashin was previously controlled by the Taliban. However since the foreign troops set up their air bases and air fields, which are working around the clock, in the neighboring settlement of Garmsi, the deposit has been since controlled by them.

Local residents confirmed to Sputnik Afghanistan that at nights, the US military are smuggling out uranium in trucks and then in cargo planes.

Sergey Kwan

TCA

Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
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Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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