The Government of Afghanistan has approved a project to mine gold under the mountains of northern Afghanistan.

The deal is the first mining project in Afghanistan to be backed by private investors in the West, reports the Press Association.

Ten companies from the US and UK are investing in the $50m project in the Baghlan province.

US deputy under secretary of defence Paul A Brinkley said the project is an important step forward for Afghanistan’s economic sovereignty, and represents a turning point in the history of international investment in the country.