Afghanistan is full of minerals we (and other countries) need. Lithium, vital to electronics is in abundant supply. As is copper, iron ore, gold, and a host of rare earth materials. The countries of the world are licking their chops, and we just happen to be sitting on top of all the wealth. Well good for us.
The problem (one of them) is there is no way to get all this wealth out of the backwater. Iron ore is much heavier than heroin which can be packed out on the back of a camel.
Trump didn’t find a reason. No one “found” a reason to stay in Afghanistan, at least not recently. We know that we are in control of (if not able to mine) vital minerals in central Asia. Indeed this is one of the reasons Obama re-ramped up our presence.
Why not hang out a little longer in the “graveyard of empires”? Right?
(From The New York Times)
President Trump, searching for a reason to keep the United States in Afghanistan after 16 years of war, has latched on to a prospect that tantalized previous administrations: Afghanistan’s vast mineral wealth, which his advisers and Afghan officials have told him could be profitably extracted by Western companies.
Mr. Trump has discussed the country’s mineral deposits with President Ashraf Ghani, who promoted mining as an economic opportunity in one of their first conversations. Mr. Trump, who is deeply skeptical about sending more American troops to Afghanistan, has suggested that this could be one justification for the United States to stay engaged in the country.
To explore the possibilities, the White House is considering sending an envoy to Afghanistan to meet with mining officials. Last week, as the White House fell into an increasingly fractious debate over Afghanistan policy, three of Mr. Trump’s senior aides met with a chemical executive, Michael N. Silver, to discuss the potential for extracting rare-earth minerals. Mr. Silver’s firm, American Elements, specializes in these minerals, which are used in a range of high-tech products.
Don’t do it Mr. President.