Lapis Lazuli mining Afghanistan
Philip Poupin

Afghanistan's hundreds of billions of dollars of untapped oil, gas, and mineral reserves could drive development. But pervasive corruption and the widespread involvement of illegal armed groups means there is a huge risk that these riches will continue to have the opposite effect – fuelling conflict and abuses.

Global Witness has been campaigning to break the link between Afghanistan's natural resources and conflict, so they can be managed in a way that benefits ordinary Afghans.

- In 2018 we documented the links between the Taliban and the international talc trade from eastern Afghanistan. We estimated that around 80% of that talc was going to the US and EU.  

- In 2016, we revealed that the Taliban and other armed groups were earning tens of millions of dollars from Afghanistan's famous lapis mines, the world’s main source of the brilliant blue lapis lazuli stone.

Meanwhile, our extensive work on the Afghan mining law has resulted in significant and welcome reforms, especially around transparency. But promises are not enough: even the best law means little without the political will and international support to enforce it.