Afghan Minister of Mines and Industries Wahidullah Shahrani on Saturday said that government is going to set up a special battalion in coming months to ensure security for mine industry and protect underground resources in the war-torn country, Xinhua reported.
"The government has taken measures to ensure security for mineral resources and mines industries and in this regard will establish a battalion in the coming months," Shahrani told a joint press conference with U.S. Deputy under Secretary of Defense Paul A. Brinkley here.
The initial steps to form such special force have already been taken, the Afghan minister further said.
Survey conducted by U.S. last year had located 28 huge mineral sites in the war-torn Afghanistan.
"There are some specific data with some projections of potential wealth," Brinkley who is also Director of U.S. Task Force for Business and Stability Operations, said at the same press conference.
"I want to emphasize that the mineral wealth is for the people of Afghanistan and it has potential to create two key changes for the people of Afghanistan -- the ability to finance your own security and ability to push ahead development projects," Brinkley further said.
Exploration of natural resources and its utilization would enable Afghans to be no longer dependent on international community and rather help them to stand on their feet, he added.
"Afghan Ministry for Mines and Industries said in 2010 that the landlocked country's mineral worth is more than 3 trillion U.S. dollars.
The government of Afghanistan has invited national and international companies to invest in the fields of mines and so far China's Metallurgical Group Corporation has invested in copper mine while some more firms have shown interest in investing in the field of mining in the militancy-plagued Afghanistan.