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The Pentagon's Afghan Minerals Hype

By dlindorff - Posted on 18 June 2010

By James Ridgeway

Last week, the New York Times ran a story headlined, ”US Identifies Vast Riches of Minerals in Afghanistan.’’ Talk about old news! The country’s  mineral wealth has been known for centuries. Records of it date back to the time of Marco Polo.

Yahoo News points out that more recently, McClatchy Newspapers reported that this last year, Agence France Presse has written about it and Afghan President Hamid Karzai himself has boasted of the nation’s wealth . Afghanistan’s mineral reserves were mapped by the Soviets during their occupation of the country, and more recently by other mining experts. It’s possible that the team of Pentagon officials and American geologists credited with the “discovery” by the Times may have added some detail to existing knowledge on the subject, but it’s hardly the revelation their reports–and the article–suggest.

So could this “revelation” in the Times in fact be an Obama administration PR campaign to buttress U.S. involvement in the troubled war in Afghanistan? For years, we were told of Afghanistan’s potential valuable oil or oil pipeline prospects. When oil faded from the picture there was no economic reason to be there. The place wasn’t like Iraq, where the international oil companies got their hands on a huge oil reserve. But now, with the Times apparently swallowing the Pentagon’s bait, we’ve suddenly got a new reason to fight: Getting our hands on a lucrative mining colony...

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