November 1, 2012 4:14 pm
When we all hear “Afghanistan!” we think of the Taliban, suicide bomber, or most notably Osama Bin Laden but what the press rarely reports on is Afghanistan’s untapped mineral wealth and doesn’t even point out that it may be the hidden reason behind US occupation. A small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists discovered nearly $1 trillion in previous unknown mineral deposits. Iron, copper, cobalt, gold, and critical industrial metals like lithium used in laptop batteries and cellular phones were amongst some of the minerals. It would take years to develop a mining industry since there is no infrastructure in Afghanistan. American officials fear that the Chinese will try to dominate the development of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth. The Chinese already won the rights to construct the Aynak copper mine in Logar Province, China. The military invasion is proof of America’s heavy investment in the region but America’s financing of the Taliban may be the earliest known example.
US knowledge of Afghanistan’s untapped mineral resources can be dated back to 1977-78 over studies conducted by University of Nebraska (UNO) professor, John Shroder and a UNO associate, Chris Jung. Under a grant from National Science Foundation they made an atlas noting a variety of information about the country. “I learned that country inside and out,” he said. “We used a lot of satellite imagery, using pictures taken from Earth satellites.” he said.
Shroder’s studies confirmed that Afghanistan “has world class deposits of copper and iron , as well as some high quality uranium , but the Russians had held the Afghans back and prevented them from developing their own resources,” he said.
“The Russians wanted to do the mining themselves for their own benefit. They always looked upon Afghanistan as a client state. They traditionally exerted a powerful influence on their neighbor to the south.” Shroder was able to confirm Soviet intents when he secretly obtained a 419 page Soviet report on Afghanistan’s mineral resources.
McMorris, Robert. “Copper, Iron, Uranium Untapped UNO Prof: Geology a Soviet Motive for Afghan Coup.” Omaha World-Herald (NE) 7 Feb. 1987, BULLDOG, news: NewsBank. Web. 1 Nov. 2012
Shroder’s discovery was made before the Soviet-Afghan war is the main reason for the CIA to help assemble the Afghan resistance fighters known as the Mujihadeen. The CIA trained the Mujihadeen fighters to resist the Soviet occupation as a way to discourage emerging Soviet mining developments and now there is a possibility that Opium could be used to deter other foreign business interests. Before the United States invaded Afghanistan in September 2001, the Afghan government under the Taliban nearly eradicated opium poppies and nearly eliminated heroin trafficking. Under US occupation, Opium production has surged US marines are currently protecting the Opium poppy fields; it’s the only source of income for the people of Afghanistan and if NATO forces eradicate the fields then every Afghan would turn towards the Taliban for support.
Besides its mineral wealth, the Opium Poppy plants found in Afghanistan could be a cash crop if it was used as a medicine instead of a drug. Research into Cannabis or Marijuana’s medicinal effects would lead to the acceptence of discovering Opium’s healing properties and characteristics. Laws against the possession of Opium and its byproduct variation such as heroin and Oxycotin its pill based variant will still exist like Marijuana a specific medical user perscription license is preferred. It would be wise for the United States in partnership with the United Nations to write a law that would only permit Afghanistan to grow large yields. Cuba is renowned for producing the most sugar in the world for the international market. A smart compromise for America to make with the people of Afghanistan is to make Opium completely legal as long as they can own all the minerals buried underground. I am not making any advise or assumptions it is just a war drains a nation’s economy and as long as these battles and skirmishes persist American you are not getting your jobs back. Certain natural resources are considered a more valuable currency than paper money and there control determines a country’s complete wealth and once America controls the minerally rich parts of the Middle East they finally secured the wealth of the US dollar.
Opium is king in Afghanistan
US should say yes to drugs in Afghanistan
Soldiers protecting Opium Poppy fields
The Senlis Council, an EU funded think tank made proposals to legitimize opium farming if its for developing pharmaceutical drugs. Morphine and Codeine are the two ingredients found in heroin and licenses granted to villages would require them to grow a limited amount of poppy plants.
Eradication or “Poppy for medicine”
Tension and Turmoil are needed assuming and responsibility for the safety of the Afghan people to secures America’s presence in the country. Instability in Afghanistan further deflects other countries interested in its mining sector. The alternative of using Opium poppies to make medicine would have forced America and NATO to relinquish control of Afghanistan. The guise of fighting terrorism and heroin trafficking is a great excuse to continue occupying the country and if Under US control, that discovery of minerals could help America repay some its debt to China.