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From: Jaq (
Subject:         Guess what the military found in Afghanistan?
Date: June 15, 2010 at 6:04 am PST

U.S. Makes Huge Discovery in Afghanistan, But It's Not Osama bin Laden
Posted Jun 14, 2010 01:05pm EDT by Aaron Task
The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, The NY Times reports. Experts say the large deposits of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and industrial metals like lithium could transform Afghanistan's economy from one based on poppy production and tribalism to one based on mining.

Afghanistan could become the "Saudi Arabia of lithium," an internal Pentagon memo states, according to The Times.

"There is stunning potential here," Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command told the paper. "There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant."

There are, of course, huge obstacles to overcome, including the lack of sophisticated mining equipment and expertise in Afghanistan, not to mention the ongoing war between the U.S.-led coalition and the Taliban and its allies.

Hope & Cynicism

As Henry and I discuss in the accompanying clip, the hope is that minerals and mining will spur economic growth in Afghanistan, which can lead to relative peace and stability. As with Russia after the breakup of the Soviet Union, the transformation won't be pretty, especially since the Karzai administration is already rife with corruption. But an economy based on natural resource (other than poppy seeds) sure beats the status quo.

Obviously we should all hope for the best in Afghanistan, for humanitarian and military reasons alike. But the cynic in me can't help ask the following questions, which I'm sure are on the minds of many Americans today:

* * $1 trillion is a lot of money: Who reaps the bounty?
* * Did the U.S invade Afghanistan to plunder its natural resources, as many believe was the real reason we invaded Iraq?
* * How come the U.S. Army can find all these minerals, but not Osama bin Laden.
* * Shouldn't our military be putting ALL our resources into defeating the Taliban and finding bin Laden before digging for gold (and iron and copper, etc. etc.)?

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