Kabul July 9 2023: Afghanistan's Taliban-led government started extracting oil from wells in the north of the country, state-run media said Saturday.
"Priority will be given to the employment of technical and non-technical staff and the reconstruction of the mine using the revenues of Sar-e-Pul," acting Mines and Petroleum Minister Sheikh Shahabuddin Delawar was quoted by the Bakhtar News Agency.
Delawar was addressing a ceremony where he and several senior Taliban officials were inaugurating the wells in the Qashqari oilfield in Sar-e-Pul province
The Qashqari basin has 10 wells and 200 tons of oil is being extracted from nine wells, the Kabul Times reported, citing a statement by the Mines and Petroleum Ministry.
Officials hope to increase the extraction capacity from Qashqari to more than 1,000 tons.
Following a return to power in Kabul in 2021, the Taliban signed an agreement last year with a Chinese company to extract oil from Sar-e-Pul.
In January, the interim Afghan Taliban government also signed a 25-year contract with a Chinese firm to extract oil from the Amu River basin and develop an oil reserve in the north.
According to the contract, the Chinese company will invest $150 million in the first year and increase to $540 million in three years.
Afghanistan is estimated to be sitting on untapped resources of more than $1 trillion, which has attracted the interest of foreign investors, according to the Bakhtar News Agency.