For millennia, extractive activity in Afghanistan (officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, or IRA) has been entirely artisanal or small-scale in scope. Many facets of ASM in Afghanistan are under-studied, including why people engage in it, methods, materials mined, wage structure, and revenue generated. ASM practices are generally region- and commodity-specific: though some level of mechanization is used in talc-mining, for example, placer gold deposits are mined manually. Women have minimal-to-no presence at ASM sites, though child and forced labor are known problems (Central Statistics Organization and UNFPA 2017; DeWitt et al. 2021; International Labour Organization 2012). In 2012, the GoIRA estimated that about 50,000 people in the country were engaged directly in ASM, with 450,000 people indirectly dependent on ASM practices (Hart Group 2016). More recent estimates of ASM employment are not available, although it is known that informal ASM is widespread throughout the country. Read more in the Afghanistan Country Profile.