- Barack Obama and Hamid Karzai discuss Afghanistan’s newly discovered mineral wealth.
“The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan,” the Times reports: “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…” according to US officials, who did not continue to say, “so, previously announced withdrawal timetables notwithstanding, we’re going to continue our military presence in the country until the year 2250 or the collapse of China as a global power, whichever comes first.”
If this discovery seems like a major boon for a hard-luck country, consider, as the Times does, that Afghanistan is a country with no mining infrastructure or history of environmental protection, engaged in a war with the Taliban, and run from within a compound by a paranoid, ineffectual, erratic president with family ties to the international drug trade, and whose administration is completely corrupt when it manages to not be bossed around by brutally feuding tribal warlords. When Cyndi Lauper said “Money changes everything,” she didn’t meant that that was necessarily a good thing.
American geologists conducted a deep survey of the country’s reserves in the early part of last decade, but neither American nor Afghan officials moved to respond to the new information until last year, because the Bush administration was a top to bottom shitshow the extent to which likely won’t be fully understood for decades.