London, Mar.25 (ANI): A pact between the Pakistan Government and theTehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM), a Pakistani militant organisation with Wahabi and Deobandi leanings, has allowed the Taleban to take control of emerald mines in the Swat Valley.
According to the BBC, emeralds of international quality are produced in these mines, and they have now been taken over by the Taleban following a ceasefire between TNSM-affiliated militants and the government.
The mines, along with the Panjshir mines in Afghanistan, hold the largest known deposits of emeralds in South Asia.
"It is for the benefit of the public that we have reopened the mines," a senior Taleban commander told the BBC during a visit to the mines while they were under operation.
"They are open to anybody who wishes to mine them as long as they follow our rules," he added.
The mines cover an area of nearly 8km (4.9 miles). When fully operational, they yielded a quarter of a million carats of emeralds between 1978 and 1988, according to official statistics.
The last official estimate put the projected yield at about 13.2m carats. (ANI)