30 people lost their lives and 15 were injured when a gold mine collapsed in Kohistan district in north-eastern Badakhshan province of Afghanistan on Sunday, officials confirmed.
In the insurgency-plagued Afghanistan where the central government's control is poor especially in the rural areas and countryside, illegal armed men are often involved in illegal digging of natural treasures including gold, coal and lapis lazuli.
The provincial governor's spokesman Nik Mohammad Nazari told French Press Agency (AFP) the miners were not professionals.
A police spokesperson for the province said a landslide caused the tunnel to cave-in.
The district administration said that the villagers had dug a 200-feet deep shaft along the riverbed to search for gold and when the miners were inside, a wall collapsed. Landslides are very frequent in the northern mountainous provinces of the war-torn country.
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Afghanistan has vast mineral resources but numerous mines are old and poorly maintained, creating severe safety issues.
At least seven other people were injured, officials say.
The conflict has seen the rise in illegal mining both by villagers and Taliban fighters who use it as a key source of revenue.
Meanwhile, villagers had already begun the operation while removing bodies from the site.