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From Rags to Riches: Afghanistan

Updated on June 13, 2012
Minerals under Afghanistan
Minerals under Afghanistan

Well, maybe.

Up to now, the world has only viewed Afghanistan as a dirt poor country, backwards at best, filled with bad culture, bad religion, Taliban warlords. It is a dry, moon like landscape, with its own type of beauty. Hot in the summer, cold in the winter.

Copper, and lots of it, was discovered south of Kabul near Mes Aynak. This is a dirt bag place, those living there have only mud walled homes (no running water or electricity).Underneath the immediate area there is an estimated one trillion dollars worth of copper and other minerals (iron, gold, oil). Yes, $1,000,000,000,000 (did I get it right?). Other estimates come in at $40 billion.

China has already jumped in with $3.5 billion in a pledge to develop the mining operations, but so far, only India, Canada, US and Britain have been awarded rights.These were actually awarded five years ago and because of the war, nothing has yet happened. The only thing that has been built is housing for Chinese workers. Afghan officials are confident that once the war stops and the mine is operational, the income will be at least $300 million in 2016. Part of the deal with China also had them build railroads to connect to Pakistan and Uzbekistan, which would greatly expand the country's 60 miles of rail. Of course, none of it has happened. The other thing China was to build was a 400 megawatt power plant and coal mine. The Chinese have only build the housing units and are protected by 1500 armed mine protection force.

Is it me, but, this is the first time I have heard that armed Chinese are in Afghanistan. Who else is there that has been a secret so far?

The biggest investment by the US has been $50 million from JP Morgan Chase to develop a gold mine in northern Afghanistan. The Chinese outbidded the Americans for the 87 million barrels of oil located under Amu Darya. China has been delaying moving forward because the war still goes on and Taliban make them nervous, The Chinese seem to be waiting to see what happens after 2014, but Afghanistan insists on them starting.

If all goes well, Afghanistan will be able to rely on their own income from the natural resources to make their government function, assuming looting does not happen. It seems China is getting the spoils of war. Go figure. And I thought the country was worthless. My bad.


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    • perrya profile image

      perrya 5 years ago

      Interesting points, but many countries "fund" China and SA by buying their imports. But China seems to be going to reap the best of Afghanistan, while America, you cleansed them of Taliban and provided some sort of freedom, gets nothing.

    • mikelong profile image

      mikelong 5 years ago from The largest convict colony in the United States

      I don't know if "dirt bag place" is a necessary characterization. It smacks of ethnocentrism.

      Afghanistan has long been valued as an asset, for its trade routes, as well as its natural resources. The popular conception of "Western" (at least American) imagery of this region is like you say, but for those who know better, it is a sham.

      Afghanistan is a puppet of Pakistan. Pakistan and China are B.F.F.F's, and their interconnections will bring their collective regimes stability, or so they think.

      We fund the Chinese, we fund Saudi Arabia, we fund Pakistan, and we fund Afghanistan.

      China then funds Pakistan and Afghanistan, while Saudi Arabia does the same....

      The wealth comes from us...Americans (largely) at all levels.

    • Ron Hawkster profile image

      Ron Hawkster 5 years ago from United States of America

      I like this hub, especially since it eventually took me to your other hub "Why do we fight in Iraq and Afghanistan". I was very impressed by how eloquently you presented the points, and how just about everyone replying contributed additional, informative points.

      As long as these senseless and destructive wars continue we must continue to scrutinize and propagate awareness. While there is terrorism in the world that must be fought and eradicated, one simply adds fuel to the fire when the response is starting costly and deadly wars against innocent people who themselves are the victims of the same terrorists. I do remember the 90s, when the Taliban came to power, and when I was reading, with a great deal of skepticism and incredulity, reports here and there about the backing the Taliban were receiving from world powers. After all, the same group did receive tremendous financial and military support from the West when the Soviets were committing war crimes there. It was speculated back then the reasons for the strategic backing of the Taliban was because of resources as well as access to Central Asia. About 15 years later, here we are, and we just have more proof that American lives and treasure are being spent to secure resources and profits for a handful of international entities.

      Thank you for keeping the discussion going.

    • Eric L. Andrews profile image

      Eric L. Andrews 5 years ago from Midwestern United States

      Good hub. Yes, I have looked into the wealth beneath this country's soil. In addition, Afghanistan is now the world's largest producer of both opium and marijuana; most ends up in Russia, Iran, Britain and the U.S. The same corporate interests, using our troops as pawns, went into Libya and want Syria, as well. The big banks and mega, global corporations are buying off our politicians and getting our brave soldiers maimed and killed so that they can make money. They don't care a thing about the people of Afghanistan, either. Wake up America!