More American Troops to Afghanistan, To Keep the Chinese Out? Lithium and the Battle for Afghanistan’s Mineral Riches
More American Troops to Afghanistan, To Keep the Chinese Out? Lithium and the Battle for Afghanistan’s Mineral Riches By Prof Michel Chossudovsky – Global Research
TDC Note – Not only is it about heroin, but the fact that Afghanistan is sitting on one of the most mineral rich pieces of rock on the planet. Oh, and Afghanistan is an “observer nation” in the SCO and just happens to sit between China and India while across Afghanistan’s border is Pakistan – a full blown member of the SCO. Sounds like Afghanistan is going to need a lot more “democracy” on the ground.
Trump calls for escalation of the war in Afghanistan. Why? Is it part of the “Global War on Terrorism”, going after the bad guys, or is it something else?
Unknown to the broader public, Afghanistan has significant oil, natural gas and strategic raw material resources, not to mention opium, a multibillion dollar industry which feeds America’s illegal heroin market.
These mineral reserves include huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and lithium, which is a strategic raw material used in the production of high tech batteries for laptops, cell phones and electric cars.
The implication of Trump’s resolve is to plunder and steal Afghanistan’s mineral riches to finance the “reconstruction” of a country destroyed by the US and its allies after 16 years of war, i.e “War reparations” paid to the aggressor nation?
Screenshot: The Independent.
An internal 2007 Pentagon memo, quoted by the New York Times suggests that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium.” (New York Times, U.S. Identifies Vast Mineral Riches in Afghanistan – NYTimes.com, June 14, 2010, See also BBC, 14 June 2010, see also Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2010).
While it could take many years to develop a mining industry, the potential is so great that officials and executives in the industry believe it could attract heavy investment…
“There is stunning potential here,” Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, said… “There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant.”
“This will become the backbone of the Afghan economy,” said Jalil Jumriany, an adviser to the Afghan minister of mines. (New York Times, op. cit.)
What this 2007 report does not mention is that this resource base has been known to both Russia (Soviet Union) and China going back to the 1970s.
While the Afghan government of President Ashraf Ghani has called upon President Donald Trump to promote US. investments in mining, including lithium, China is in the forefront in developing projects in mining and energy as well as pipeline projects and transport corridors.
China is a major trading and investment partner with Afghanistan (alongside Russia and Iran), which potentially encroaches upon US economic and strategic interests in Central Asia
China’s intent is to eventually integrate land transportation through the historical Wakhan Corridor which links Afghanistan to China’s Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region (see map below).
Afghanistan’s estimated $3 trillion worth of unexploited minerals, Chinese companies have acquired rights to extract vast quantities of copper and coal and snapped up the first oil exploration concessions granted to foreigners in decades. China is also eyeing extensive deposits of lithium, uses of which range from batteries to nuclear components.
The Chinese are also investing in hydropower, agriculture and construction. A direct road link to China across the remote 76-kilometer border between the two countries is in progress. (New Delhi Times, July 18, 2015)
Afghanistan has extensive oil reserves which are being explored by China’s National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).
Source Mining News, August 2010
“War is Good for Business”
The US military bases are there to assert US control over Afghanistan’s mineral wealth. According to Foreign Affairs, “there are more U.S. military forces deployed there [Afghanistan] than to any other active combat zone”, the official mandate of which is “to go after” the Taliban, Al Qaeda and ISIS as part of the “Global war on Terrorism”.