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Gold Rush In Afghanistan's Hindu Kush

For generations, Afghan miners from the village of Qara Zaghan have used chisels and pickaxes to extract small amounts of gold from the nearby mountains, part of the towering Hindu Kush range. But the mining business there is in the midst of massive changes. Engineers from international mining companies have built a dirt road through the mountains and are busy surveying the sites to determine how best to exploit the area's mineral wealth. (12 PHOTOS)

Afghan miner Morad Ali walks on a mountainside near the village of Qara Zaghan in Baghlan Province.
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Afghan miner Morad Ali walks on a mountainside near the village of Qara Zaghan in Baghlan Province.

An Afghan policeman keeps watch over miners at work.
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An Afghan policeman keeps watch over miners at work.

Miners use modern equipment as part of the rapidly developing mining operations. International companies such as J.P. Morgan Capital Markets are investing in mineral extraction in the region.
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Miners use modern equipment as part of the rapidly developing mining operations. International companies such as J.P. Morgan Capital Markets are investing in mineral extraction in the region.

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Rock samples from a gold mine are crushed and prepared for testing to determine their gold content.
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Rock samples from a gold mine are crushed and prepared for testing to determine their gold content.

An Afghan policeman stands guard over mining operations.
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An Afghan policeman stands guard over mining operations.

Miner Morad Ali stands in a crevasse dug out of the side of a mountain.
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Miner Morad Ali stands in a crevasse dug out of the side of a mountain.

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Security guard Abdul Samad on duty
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Security guard Abdul Samad on duty

Rock samples that have been collected for testing
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Rock samples that have been collected for testing

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