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 arguably, the nine-year old Afghan war itself, according to senior American military and government officials, who could barely contain their glee.
Vast deposits of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world.
Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a critical raw material used in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys and nuclear weapons and the treatment of mental illness.
Gen. David Patraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, said in an interview on Saturday:
“There is stunning potential here. There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant.”Patraeus’ remarks are more than a little curious. For nine years, the American people have stood idly by and watched two presidential administrations fight a war seemingly without end in Afghanistan and now we learn the Pentagon isn’t just in the business of fighting wars but, in mineral exploration. [LSB: Emphasis added]
Just as India was once Britain’s “jewel in the crown,” it would appear that Afghanistan is now poised to become the U.S.’s jewel in the crown.
LSB: Well, doesn't this put a different spin on things! Now our troops can be fighting and dying for lithium as well as oil. It's good to know that there is a profit motive behind the fighting. Does anyone know if Halliburton gets a cut of the lithium trade?