‘The Taliban Have Picked Up the Resource Curse’ – by Lynne O’Donnell (Foreign Policy – July 11, 2022)


For decades, Afghanistan’s people have been told of the vast riches beneath their feet, untapped mineral resources potentially worth billions of dollars that the world is clamoring to explore, exploit, and export to create jobs in a world-class, sustainable industry that would catapult them into a future of peace and prosperity.

It’s not entirely a myth. Afghanistan does sit atop huge deposits of copper, iron, marble, talc, coal, lithium, chromite, cobalt, gold, lapis lazuli, gemstones, and more—making Afghanistan one of the world’s most resource-rich countries on paper. The tricky part, as it has been for the better part of two decades, is turning potential into reality.

The mining sector—which never really took off under the former Afghan government, due in no small part to security risks posed by the Taliban insurgency—has yet to fully bloom, even though those at the top of the Islamist group understand its earning and jobs-creation potential.

But as the Taliban become increasingly fractured and security nationwide deteriorates, the mining sector is still just a cash cow funding the power base and survival of those who control it, not a motor for nationwide economic growth.

For the rest of this article: https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/07/11/afghanistan-taliban-mining-resources-rich-minerals/