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Lithium, Gold and More In Afghanistan; Blessing Or Curse?

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Lithium, a mineral used in Blackberrys, laptops, and all the recent tech devices has been found in unprecedented abundance in Afghanistan; in addition,  massive amounts of gold, copper, iron, and other minerals have been discovered by geologists, who reported the find to Pentagon officials.

 Until now, Afghanistan has been a poor country, entrenched in the struggle between the legitimate government of President Hamid Karzai, as recognized by the United States, and the Taliban. Taliban fighters are radical Muslims who, were it not for the pursuit of terrorism, would be herding goats, or struggling to grow crops for the Afghanistan market.

When a nation has oil, such as we saw in the invasion of Kuwait, or in the attempted democratization of Iraq, there may be a world wide assault on the area. This assault can be devastating to the people of the region, and can result in warfare and chaos. Following the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives, we had to accept that the democratization of Iraq was impossible. The people had an election, and reinstalled an internal Iraqi government, with no ties to the West. Even the American administration had to accept that outcome.

A Pentagon memo has already compared Afghanistan to oil-rich Saudi Arabia, with unlimited potential for mining and investment. American and Afghan officials have agreed to meet to discuss the unforeseen development. This comes at a time when internal stress in Afghanistan has brought a deterioration of ties with the U.S. The Hamid Karzai government has been besieged by accusations of corruption on the one hand, and “favoritism” toward the U.S. on the other.

Afghanistan has had a struggling economy only slightly relieved by the production of raw opium. The opium is refined into heroin, and potentially, morphine, which is shipped to the West, and sold on the streets, causing death, destruction and crime. Although in a position to eliminate the opium poppies, the U.S. has avoided that option, stating that the recompense from such destruction will be worse than the addictions.

In the light of the mineral discoveries, the Taliban will enlist far more membership, and fight all the more to control the mines. We recall that some nations, The United Arab Emirates for one, consider the Taliban to be the legitimate government in that region.

Although the American Government supports the Afghan government, last year officials in Afghanistan tried to give control of copper mines to China. Those officials were replaced. This clearly  is going to be a trying time for Afghanistan and the nations of the world. Technology must be developed. Transportation, systematization — all will require intervention. The temptation to make this another Iraq, another Kuwait will be overwhelming. We will wait, and see.

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About John Lake

John Lake had a long and successful career in legitimate and musical theater. He moved up into work behind the camera at top motion pictures. He has done a smattering of radio, and television John joined the Blogcritics field of writers owing to a passion for the liberal press, himself speaking out about the political front, and liberal issues. Now the retired Mr. Lake has entered the field of motion picture, television, and video game (now a daily gamer!) critique. His writing is always innovative and immensely readable!
  • Cannonshop

    John, the mineral wealth’s been known about for Decades, the problem is twofold:

    1. Transporting it to market. Even assuming one could stabilize the country long/well enough to get the mines up and productive (Which has NEVER been a high probability in Afghanistan, going back centuries.)

    2. Mining is not a no-brains operation. It’s not just digging in a hole, these ores are not easily accessable placer-panning style deposits in loose gravel, these mineral resources are locked in hard rock, in difficult terrain, with no roads and few trails-which means if (and it’s a big if) one were to stabilize any region long enough to get the equipment needed to get at the materials for less than the market price (Necessary for mining-there are hundereds of rich silver veins in N. America that are too expensive to keep open) the cost of infrastructure means the mines likely won’t be profitable for Years, potentially decades-and the areas have to remain stable during that period-an event unlikely even under the Taliban.

  • John Lake

    Cannonshop:
    Exactly my point. However as I read it, this is a new find, far beyond the previous copper.
    The nations of the world, the Taliban, the Government to Afghanistan, are will search for a way to take advantage of the situation, without appearing altogether villainous

  • Celtic Heart

    Hegelian Dialectic:mmmmmmmmmmmm!
    Multi-Faceted,Conceptually Tangental, Self Explanatory, Planatory Information!
    That being said;is it not strange that this should be revealed as the BP Gulf Disater,should be reviled.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    From the moment the news hit the wires I smelled a rat. Looks to me like the Karzai Brothers are about to embark on another business venture in Afghanistan as they transition from opium to lithium. Sorry, folks, the Karzais are the LAST people to be given the responsibility. Hamid Karzai is about to sell us out to the highest bidder as nations vie for rights to the minerals, especially the gold and lithium.

    We need a multi-national agency sanctioned by the UN for starters. We then need to insure that the profits realized from the natural resources of the country ultimately go back to the citizenry in the forms of upgraded infrastructure, education and quality health care — three things the United States government has failed at accomplishing since 1976.

    As corporations and governments jockey for position to claim nature’s resources from Afghan ground, we cannot allow the region to become another oppressive society like Saudi Arabia.

  • Cannonshop

    #4 Silas, looking at how “International” agencies (The U.N, for starters) actually work as opposed to how they’re SUPPOSED to work, the Afghans would be better off hiring John Gotti to handle it, than relying on “International aid”.

    “Oil for Food” anyone? UNPROFOR in Africa? Nope. It’s the Afghans’ resource, and in the end, their decision on whether it is done, how it is done, and who does the work.