There's over a Trillion Dollars worth of minerals to be mined in Afghanistan, according to Pentagon geologists. I did not previously know the Pentagon was in the mining business. Or that they employed prospectors and geologists.
The United States occupied Afghanistan in 2002, overthrowing the Taliban-led government. Someone had to be punished for the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in 2001. The attack was carried out by Saudi Arabian citizens, financed by Saudi money. But American (and British) companies already had a highly profitable business buying Saudi oil. The dictatorial, woman-oppressing, fanatically religious Islamic government of Saudi Arabia claimed it was loyal to America and the oil kept flowing. Ideally the Pentagon needed a weak country to beat up on. The Afghani government refused to expedite Osama Bin Laden. Not extraditing criminals (or spiritual leaders of rebels) has never been an act of war in the past, but the Pentagon, backed by President Bush, the Democratic Party, and the Republican Party, invaded Afghanistan anyway.
Who knew there was a trillion dollars worth of minerals to be extracted. International mining corporations just got lucky. Including lithium for iPhones and iPads. Even a great prophet like Steve Jobs couldn't have foreseen something like that. [Oh no. Now I'll get thousands of e-mails claiming Steve Jobs can foresee anything he he wants to see, and how dare I write my prose on anything but an iPad.]
It is a hard call without further research. They want us to believe that geologists never visited Afghanistan before 2002. Prospectors either; it never occurred to that hardy lot that there might be gold in the hills or deserts. I believe a lot of private information was known about Afghanistan mineral potential going back decades. It is just that no one put it into a public report until now.
Think of all that money! It cuts down on our (Western) reliance on China for rare earth elements too. It justifies the deaths of not just American gunmen, but of Taliban soldiers and uncounted civilians.
And what is super, super groovy for the Pentagon and allied industrialists is that there are no environmental regulations in Afghanistan. No safety regulations either. As far as they are concerned, it would be like mining the moon. No harm done. Bring in the dynamite and humongous mining machines. A regular boy-child utopia.
If the past is any guide to the future, if wealth is extracted in the form of minerals, only a few Afghans will benefit. The miners will come and go, they and a few officials will get rich, and in a century or so there will be just a scared land and a bunch of poor sheep herders and opium croppers.