Surprise! As Afghan War Loses Support, U.S. “Discovers” Huge Mineral Deposits

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

While there is no shortage of depressing news these days leading to questions about the United States’ long-term presence in Afghanistan, there’s one word that perhaps guarantees an American presence in the country for years to come: minerals.

 
A team from the Department of Defense estimates the impoverished nation could be sitting atop nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits—iron, copper, cobalt, gold and lithium. In fact, Pentagon officials say Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material used in batteries for computers and cell phones. Currently, the largest reserves of lithium are acknowledged to be located in Bolivia.
 
Although headline coverage of this story has portrayed the discovery of Afghan mineral riches as breaking news, the U.S. government has been deeply involved for years and much of the information has been available on the Internet for a long time. Beginning in 2006, the United States Geological Survey flew over 70% of Afghanistan with gravity and magnetic measuring equipment. The following year, they used more sophisticated equipment to create a three-dimensional profile of the nation’s mineral deposits.
 
Some observers have noted that the timing of the release of the story may be related to the American public’s decreasing support for keeping U.S. troops in Afghanistan even as the Obama administration is increasing troop levels.
 
Recently, the news out of Afghanistan hasn’t been good. The American-led offensive in Marja in southern Afghanistan has made only marginal progress. The government of Hamid Karzai continues to be accused of corruption and favoritism. And President Karzai at times talks more fondly of improving relations with the Taliban than staying friends with Washington.
 
But no matter what the majority of Americans may think, it seems doubtful the U.S. will be leaving Afghanistan, given that General David Petraeus, commander of the U.S. Central Command, says the country possesses “stunning potential” for mineral wealth.
-David Wallechinsky, Noel Brinkerhoff
 
Huge Obstacles Seen in Exploiting Afghan Minerals (by Deb Riechmann and Anne Flaherty, Associated Press)
Public Remains Unfriendly on Afghanistan (by Jennifer Agiesta, Washington Post)

Comments

Joseph Conrad 8 years ago
Nearly 20yrs. ago, the CIA 'pinched' Soviet studies that revealed Afganistan's tremendous mineral wealth - along with Gas. Indeed, it was those studies that drove the Soviets to occupy the country and try to take it over. Today, those study results and more recent US research will keep Americans fighting and dying in Afanisan for the next 20yrs.! And Americans will just crack open another cold one and let it all happen! Hey, we're too stupid o raise our children to adulthood, so let's just send them off to fight enless, unwinable wars stealing th Wealth of Non-white nations?!

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