Islamabad, Apr.2 (ANI): The Taliban has taken over the Gojaro Kalay emerald mine in Shangla in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP).
According to sources, more than 70 Taliban attacked the mine on Wednesday and took over the control of mining operations there.
Locals have confirmed the report, however, the district coordination officer and the district police officer denied any such activity in the region.
The Mineral Licensing Director of the area, Shakirullah also confirmed the report, and said he has information about the mine being taken over by the Taliban.
The mine was leased to an American firm, Luxury International, for 40 million rupees per year, but the company recently scrapped the deal because of deteriorating security conditions in Pakistan, The Daily Times reported.
Earlier, a pact between the Pakistan Government and the Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM), a Pakistani militant organisation with Wahabi and Deobandi leanings, allowed the Taliban to take control of emerald mines in the Swat Valley too.
The mines, along with the Panjshir mines in Afghanistan, hold the largest known deposits of emeralds in South Asia. (ANI)