The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.
The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.
The sound that you’re hearing right now is the sound of a thousand antiwar movement leaders’ contact information being quietly deleted from Obama administration Blackberries: the White House just can’t afford the rather monotonous distraction anymore. Again, assuming that this pans out… one trillion dollars’ worth of mineral resources will be extracted out of Afghanistan. Either we (or the Chinese) can do it, and build up the Afghan infrastructure in the process* – or somebody else will do it, and that somebody probably will not be all that interested in making sure that Afghanistan does not become another Congo. Either way, even scraps from a trillion dollar bounty can pay for a lot of things that we don’t want certain groups (or nation-states) to have. So we’re going to be there for a while.
On the bright side, we’ve just been given a really, really good reason to have the Obama administration stop ignoring India. Look at a map and you’ll see why.
*No love for the ChiComs, but they think longer-term than most.