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From Rags to Riches: Afghanistan
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.