I do enjoy it when people who call the rational (albeit ruthlessly criminal) business motivations that play a part in warfare as ‘conspiracy theories’ as if all human history didn’t contain repeated evidence of the venal motivations behind various conflicts. They may not be the prime reason, or even in the top three but no aggressive war was ever engaged in without regard to the potential treasure the blood would obtain. I suppose they think that was the bad brutal unevolved past and we would never be so unenlightened now, bless ’em. And arguing over what was the prime reason (especially in the war on terror theatre where almost no one can agree what the reasons really are) is a bit of an angels dancing on the head of a pin exercise, surely we can agree that the motivations were not those of a good faith engagement with the human rights of everyone concerned and war inevitably is a generator of atrocity (again that seems to a contentious issue for those who think humanity has left its dark past behind and war will follow laws and troops really are free to refuse illegal orders). I think there are various reasons for Afghan war, an outraged Empire, the need to move a population into a war mindset with an easy victory that also meant assets could begin to be deployed for the big push on Iraq (and having a client state on another border with Iran, certainly the neocons/zionist axis are always keen on anything that does that or projects US, and therefore to their thinking Israeli, sphere of influence across the Middle East), disgust at the Taliban that in their uninformed romanticism thought the Norther Alliance were ‘good guys’ and even some actual good faith belief that even though Bush came to power in a coup this invasion would bring a better govt to Afghanistan and better human rights. Anyways, as I say there are many factors few of which however are particularly noble and when you come to the actual decision makers, I would say none. So now Karzai is trying to promote the treasure aspect, it does not mean the invasion was simply about this, but it does mean those who reject rational capital interests as playing any part should maybe pack it in, get a subscription to the Disney channel and enjoy that fictional children’s world which will not challenge their shiny worldview unduly.
KABUL — Afghanistan, one of the world’s poorest countries, is sitting on mineral and petroleum reserves worth an estimated one trillion dollars, President Hamid Karzai said Sunday. The war-ravaged nation could become one of the richest in the world if helped to tap its geological deposits, Karzai told reporters. “I have very good news for Afghans,” Karzai said. “The initial figures we have obtained show that our mineral deposits are worth a thousand billion dollars — not a thousand million dollars but a thousand billion,” he said.
He based his assertion, he said, on a survey being carried out by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), due to be completed in “a couple of months”. The USGS, the US government’s scientific agency, has been working on the 17-million dollar survey for a number of years, Karzai said.
While Afghanistan is not renowned as a resource-rich country, it has a wide range of deposits, including copper, iron ore, gold and chromite, as well as natural gas, oil and precious and semi-precious stones. Little has been exploited because the country has been mired in conflict for 30 years, and is embroiled in a vicious insurgency by Islamist rebels led by the Taliban.
More than 100,000 foreign troops under US and NATO command are battling the insurgents, with another 40,000 due for deployment this year. China and India have bid for contracts to develop mines, with the Chinese winning a copper contract. An iron ore contract is due to be awarded later this year.
In 2007, China’s state-owned metals giant Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC) signed a three-billion-dollar contract to develop the Aynak copper mine — one of the world’s biggest — over the next 30 years. First discovered in 1974, the site, 30 kilometres (20 miles) south of Kabul in Logar, is estimated to contain 11.3 million tonnes of copper.
The Hajigak iron ore mine in Bamiyan province, north of Kabul, is currently under tender, with one Chinese and half a dozen Indian firms bidding. The contract is for exploitation of almost two billion tonnes of high-grade ore, involving processing, smelting, steel production and electricity production.
1 February, 2010 at 7:56 pm
I just read this RAWA IAFP) article and was *shocked*, I say shocked, to read that China has already got itself in the mines there. Just as *shocked* as I was to read that China is mining in Darfur…
1 February, 2010 at 7:58 pm
Yes, notice how conflicts happen where one power bloc has extraction rights that another power bloc wants, funny that.
1 February, 2010 at 8:18 pm