Is The Afghan Fighting About The Gold?
By James Donahue
Afghanistan appears on world maps as a nation with borders, but in reality it is
a vast land occupied by many tribes. United States troops have been at war there for the past decade. Before that the Russians
were fighting the tribes. Looking back into history, Afghanistan has been an almost constant battleground at least since Alexander
the Great invaded in 330 BC and probably long before this.
When President George W. Bush ordered American troops to invade the entire country
of Afghanistan in 2001 in retaliation to the 9-11 attack by an al-Qaeda terrorist cell located in Kandahar, many believed
there was some other objective behind such a military move. Osama bin Laden and
his gang quickly disappeared into the rugged mountainous terrain between Afghanistan and Pakistan and US and British forces
found themselves fighting against another powerful tribal force, the Taliban, which was not believed to have been linked with
al-Qaeda or the attack on the United States.
So why did we do this? And why are we still there in 2012, with military advisors
saying they think we need to stay a few years longer to try to build a stable government? From the images we see on our nightly
television news Afghanistan might as well be the Moon. It is largely an undeveloped rugged wasteland that has been occupied
by tribal farmers and herders for centuries.
As with most contemporary wars, our objective in Afghanistan has to be about money.
When it comes to prolonged warfare it always involves big business interests. But other than the manufacture and sale of military
weapons, is there something else?
You bet there is.
For one thing, Afghanistan’s biggest cash crop has been the poppy plant, from
which much of the world’s supply of morphine and heroin are produced. This alone involves big business, both for the
pharmaceutical industry and organized crime.
What few people know, however, is that during the Cold War, both Soviet and U. S.
geologists bored thousands of test holes and discovered huge deposits of copper,
zinc, mercury, tin, fluorite, potash, tale, asbestos, magnesium, and most exciting of all….they found gold, emerald,
ruby, lapis, lazuli, and other precious stones. Also deep in that ground it is known that untapped resources may also include
undiscovered new pockets of oil and natural gas.
The riches lying under the Afghan landscape have not been a secret to the tribal
leaders. Primitive mining has been going on there for hundreds of years and it is believed that about 200 mines exist . .
. all under the control of local warlords.
The last serious mining there occurred during the reign of Alexander the Great more
than 2000 years ago.
Since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, the central “democratic” government
established under the rule of President Hamid Karzai, Pentagon officials and American geologists have conducted new surveys
and now estimate mineral riches there worth over $3 trillion.
Karzai’s government passed a mining law and established the Ministry of Mines
and Industries in 2006. Under the new law, all minerals located on or under the surface is “the exclusive property”
of the government. The government is free to promote the efficient development of the mineral industry by the private sector.
Thus the door was opened for big corporate interests to get involved in mining operations in Afghanistan.
Among the first corporate investment interests to enter the picture was J. P. Morgan
Capital Markets in 2010. Morgan’s involvement immediately intensified the resistance by the Taliban, which is fighting
to protect the mines.
Thus the Afghanistan war is no longer being fought under the guise of battling al-Qaeda
forces. We are now fighting the Taliban, and the war is over big corporate greed. This is what American troops are dying for.
President Obama’s promise to shut down the Afghanistan War in 2013 and bring
the troops home may not happen if big business interests have their way.