Friday, March 23, 2012

Afghanistan - Rags to Riches to Rags

Iran, China, Russia and India are poised to become the real beneficiaries of the blood and treasure we've poured into the Afghan War.

An investigation by the British newspaper, The Independent, finds that these countries will be moving in to exploit Afghanistan's mineral riches when we move out in 2014.

"The potentially lucrative task of exploiting Afghanistan's immense mineral wealth – estimated to be worth around £2trn, according to the Kabul government – is only in the early stages. But already China and India in particular are doing deals and beginning work. Facilities already established are being protected by local army and police, part of whose funding, and most of whose training, has been a US/UK responsibility.

"The anomaly of two Afghanistans – one of massacres, roadside bombs, and battles with the Taliban, the other of commercial deals in the hundreds of millions – is not lost on observers. Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell, a member of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, said: "The Chinese are self-interested. I don't blame them for that. But it is on the backs of the sacrifice made by [the] British and Americans and others, the sacrifices we have made which we hope after 2014 will lead to a more stable and secure Afghanistan, and for the Chinese to capitalise on that doesn't go down well."

Initiatives to exploit enormous mineral wealth from a nation run by a dysfunctionally corrupt and hapless central government in the throes of an unresolved civil war usually exact a pretty nasty toll on the helpless civilian population, the Afghan peasant.


Anonymous said...

"and for the Chinese to capitalise on that doesn't go down well."

Yeah! When the UK and US conquer a pseudo-colony, it should be THEIR transnationals that get all the gravy. Like in Iraq. How dare the Chinese take advantage of that whole freedom of trade and capital movement stuff.

Live by the neoliberal sword, die by the neoliberal sword. If only they weren't taking the rest of us down with them.

The Mound of Sound said...

The Americans are anything but happy at the way their South Asia gambit is playing out. Yet again they've unintentionally helped out Iran. China and Russia keep moving to oust American influence from the region. China keeps moving toward the day when it has an entirely overland oil pipeline from Iran and, possibly, Iraq. Chinese and Russian influence in the region can dash hopes for western domination of the Caspian Basin oil and gas reserves. It just goes on and on and on.

Anyong said...

No one saw that coming? Do you think these countries will be able to keep their composure without some sort of conflict in the long run?....I doubt it very much.

The Mound of Sound said...

Even if we didn't see it coming we were served notice of it three or four years ago when, right under our noses, the Chinese locked up the rights to Afghanistan's major copper fields and began constructing a railroad to take ore back to China.

Anyong said...

I asked the question because there were some people who did see it coming. I remember reading an article about that very thing while in South Korea written by someone out of Singapore. Didn't you say something about it as well MOS? It seems most North Americans are last to understand what is really going on in the rest of the world. I wonder why that is...??? grin.

The Mound of Sound said...

Yes, several years ago I picked up on China securing Afghan's copper reserves and building a rail line into northern Afghanistan to transport the ore back to China. This is all part and parcel of our 9/11 hangover.