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Large oilfield discovered in Afghanistan

world Updated: Aug 15, 2010 16:25 IST

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Officials said on Sunday that an oilfield containing an estimated 1.8 billion barrels of oil have been discovered by geologists in northern Afghanistan.

The Afghan government revealed earlier this year that it had discovered untapped mineral deposits worth an estimated $3 trillion.

The oilfield in northern Balkh and Shiberghan area was discovered after a survey conducted by Afghan and international geologists, Jawad Omar, a spokesman for the ministry of mines said.

"I don't have information about its price and but our initial survey from Afghan Geologist Center says that there are 1.8 billion of oil in this northern region," he said.

"We will put it for tender after its technical investigation will be finished in the coming months" Omar added.

Afghanistan largely relies on aid from the US and other Western countries to pay for security and other expenditures, despite efforts by the Afghan government and its international backers to make it more self-supporting.

More than 120,000 NATO and US troops are based in Afghanistan to battle an insurgency waged by the Taliban, which was ousted in late 2001.

The new mineral discoveries are also seen as possibly stoking the insurgency rather than bringing stability, as the Taliban could fight more fiercely to regain control of the country and its new found prospective wealth.