Afghan authorities have organised a roadshow in London that opens on Friday aimed at drumming up interest in the country’s mineral wealth variously estimated at anything from $1 trillion to $3 trillion.
India and China, the regional heavyweights, are the top candidates to fight for a piece of the action in their immediate neighbourhood. If there are such large reserves of copper, iron ore and key industrial metals such as lithium lying untapped in their neighbourhood you would expect them to invest heavily in Afghanistan to feed their supercharged economies.
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – For all the lure of the mineral wealth believed to be lying untapped beneath war-ravaged Afghanistan, Asia’s two major economies, India and China, are not rushing in with pick axes and shovels just yet.
Both resource-hungry nations, jockeying for influence in Afghanistan as the United States prepares to pull out its troops next year, are hungrily eyeing the deposits of iron ore, copper and key industrial metals such as lithium, estimated to be worth more than $1 trillion.
A team of U.S. geologists and Pentagon officials have concluded that Afghanistan is sitting on untapped mineral deposits worth more than $1 trillion, officials said. The deposits of iron, copper, cobalt and critical industrial elements such as lithium are enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the war itself, the officials said.
Lithium is a key raw material for the manufacture of batteries for laptops and mobile phones, and the potential reserves of the metal are so huge that the country may well become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium”, a Pentagon memo said.
If you still thought things hadn’t dramatically changed on the Afghan chessboard ever since U.S. President Barack Obama announced plans to begin pulling out from mid-2011, you only need to look at President Hamid Karzai’s recent utterances, or more accurately the lack of it, on the Taliban and Pakistan, the other heavyweights on the stage.
For months Karzai has gone noticeably quiet on Pakistan, refusing to excoriate the neighbour for aiding the Taliban as he routinely did in the past, The Guardian quoted a source close to the country’s former intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh as saying.
Reuters photographer Asmaa Waguih was embedded with U.S. forces in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. for two months. Here’s her account of a close shave with an IED blast.
It didn’t take me long to figure out that a large part of my time with U.S. Marines in Afghanistan would be marked out by the Marines’ order : “hurry up and wait”. I would wait for hours for flights to remote places, for a foot patrol to start but above all wait for action to happen so I could shoot live combat.
KABUL (Reuters) – Hundreds of Afghan tribal elders and notables were set to make a formal call for peace with the Taliban on Friday, the final day of a traditional assembly that they said was a last chance to end a nine-year war.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai called the “peace jirga” to win national support for a peace plan consisting of offering an amnesty, cash and job incentives to Taliban foot soldiers while arranging asylum for top figures in a second country.
KABUL (Reuters) – Afghan tribal leaders and other notables agreed at a peace meeting on Thursday that an opening had to be made to Taliban insurgents because neither foreign forces nor the Afghan army had been able to ensure security, the deputy head of the conference said.
Qiyamuddin Kashaf said nearly 1,600 delegates gathered for a traditional jirga to discuss President Hamid Karzai’s peace proposals agreed that the jirga (gathering) was their last chance to bring peace.
KABUL, June 3 (Reuters) – Afghan tribal elders discssed
ways to reach out to the Taliban on Thursday, despite a rocket
and gunfire attack by the insurgents aimed at disrupting a
national conference seeking an end to nearly nine years of war.
President Hamid Karzai, who launched the traditional “loya
jirga” of tribal elders on Wednesday amid the noise of rockets
and gunfire, is hoping to get national support for his plans to
reach out to the the Taliban ahead of a gradual U.S. military
withdrawal from 2011.
KABUL (Reuters) – Two Western aid organisations have denied allegations they were engaged in Christian proselytising in Afghanistan after the government suspended their activities following a television report.
Church World Service and Norwegian Church Aid said they had been operating in Afghanistan for decades and their work was entirely humanitarian.