Smoke and minerals: Afghanistan’s “new” riches don’t matter
You would think $1 trillion worth of minerals would not go unnoticed for so long. But apparently, the Pentagon believes it just “discovered” a vast wealth of minerals in Afghanistan which could be the treasure chest needed to fund the Afghan treasury (something the U.S. currently does). Sounding more like a marketing agency, the Pentagon revealed in an internal memo that the minerals offered so much potential that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of Lithium.”
Altogether this hoopla is reminiscent to Paul Wolfowitz’s proclamations at the beginning of the Iraq War that oil revenues would cover the costs of occupation and fund the transitional government. But really, everybody knows that it would take years, if not decades, to develop Afghanistan’s mines. And even by then, the likely beneficiaries of those mines will be Afghan power-brokers (not the people) and unscrupulous investors (such as in the Chinese-Aynak copper deal).
For further reading: This subject was broached in “Who competes over failed states?“