by Prof Michel Chossudovsky
Trump calls for escalation of
war in Afghanistan.
Unknown to the broader
public, Afghanistan has significant,
...not to mention
opium, a multibillion dollar industry which feeds
America's illegal heroin market.
These mineral reserves include huge veins of,
...which is a strategic
raw material used in the production of high tech batteries for
laptops, cell phones and electric cars.
The implication of Trump's resolve is to plunder and steal
Afghanistan's mineral riches to finance the "reconstruction" of a
country destroyed by the U.S. and its allies after 16 years of war,
i.e. "War reparations" paid to the aggressor nation?
An internal 2007 Pentagon memo, quoted by the New York Times
suggests that Afghanistan could become the "Saudi Arabia of
Identifies Vast Mineral Riches in Afghanistan -
NYTimes.com, June 14, 2010. See also BBC, 14 June 2010, and also
Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2010).
While it could take
many years to develop a mining industry, the potential is so
great that officials and executives in the industry believe it
could attract heavy investment…
stunning potential here," Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander
of the United States Central Command, said…
"There are a lot
of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely
"This will become the backbone of the Afghan economy," said
Jalil Jumriany, an adviser to the Afghan minister of mines.
(New York Times, op. cit.)
What this 2007 report
does not mention is that this resource base has been known to both
Russia (Soviet Union) and China going back to the 1970s.
While the Afghan government of President Ashraf Ghani has
called upon President Donald Trump to promote U.S.. investments in
mining, including lithium, China is in the forefront in developing
projects in mining and energy as well as pipeline projects and
China is a major trading and
investment partner with Afghanistan (alongside Russia and Iran),
which potentially encroaches upon U.S. economic and strategic
interests in Central Asia
China's intent is to eventually integrate land transportation
through the historical
Wakhan Corridor which links
Afghanistan to China's Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region.
estimated $3 trillion worth of unexploited minerals, Chinese
companies have acquired rights to extract vast quantities of
copper and coal and snapped up the first oil exploration
concessions granted to foreigners in decades.
China is also eyeing
extensive deposits of lithium, uses of which range from
batteries to nuclear components.
The Chinese are also investing in hydropower, agriculture and
construction. A direct road link to China across the remote
76-kilometer border between the two countries is in progress.
Delhi Times, July 18, 2015)
Afghanistan has extensive
oil reserves which are being explored by China National Petroleum
Source Mining News,
"War is Good
The U.S. military bases are there to assert U.S. control over
Afghanistan's mineral wealth.
According to Foreign
"there are more U.S.
military forces deployed there [Afghanistan] than to any other
active combat zone", the official mandate of which is "to go
after" the Taliban, Al Qaeda and ISIS as part of the "Global war
Why so many military
bases? Why the additional forces sent in by Trump?
The unspoken objective of U.S. military presence in Afghanistan is
to keep the Chinese out, i.e. hinder China from establishing trade
and investments relations with Afghanistan.
More generally, the establishment of military bases in Afghanistan
on China's Western border is part of a broader process of military
encirclement of the People's Republic of China - i.e. naval
deployments in the South China sea, military facilities in Guam,
South Korea, Okinawa, Jeju Island, etc...
Pivot to Asia
Under the Afghan-U.S. security pact, established under
Obama's Asian pivot,
Washington and its NATO partners have established a permanent
military presence in Afghanistan, with military facilities located
close to China's Western frontier.
The pact was intended to
allow the U.S. to maintain their nine permanent military bases,
strategically located on the borders of China, Pakistan and Iran as
well as Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
U.S. military presence, however, has not prevented the expansion of
trade and investment relations between China and Afghanistan.
A strategic partnership
agreement was signed between Kabul and Beijing in 2012. Afghanistan
has observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization
Moreover, neighboring Pakistan - which is now a full member of the
SCO - has established close bilateral relations with China. And now
Donald Trump is threatening Pakistan, which for many years has been
the target of America's "undeclared drone war".
In other words, a shift in geopolitical alignments has taken place
which favors the integration of Afghanistan alongside Pakistan into
the Eurasian trade, investment and energy axis.
Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and China are cooperating in oil and gas
The SCO of which
Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are full members is
providing a geopolitical platform for the integration of Afghanistan
into the Eurasian energy and transport corridors.
China is eventually intent upon integrating Afghanistan into the
transport network of Western China as part of the
Belt and Road initiative.
Moreover, China's state owned mining giant, Metallurgical
Corporation of China Limited (MCC),
"has already managed
to take control of the huge copper deposit Mes Aynak, which lies
in an area controlled by the Taliban.
Already in 2010,
resource-hungry China will try to dominate the development
of Afghanistan's mineral wealth which would upset the United
After winning the bid
for its Aynak copper mine in Logar Province, China clearly wants
China and the
Battle for Lithium
Chinese mining conglomerates are now competing for strategic control
of the global Lithium market, which until recently was controlled by
the "Big Three" conglomerates including,
While the Big Three
dominate the market, China now accounts for a large share of global
lithium production, categorized as the fourth-largest
lithium-producing country behind Australia, Chile and Argentina.
Tianqi Group has taken control
of Australia's largest lithium mine, called
Greenbushes. Tianqi now owns a
51-percent stake in
Talison Lithium, in partnership
with North Carolina's Albemarle.
This thrust in lithium production is related to China's rapid
development of the electric car industry:
China is now "The
Center of Lithium Universe".
China is already the
largest market for electric cars.
BYD, Chinese company backed by
Warren Buffett, is the largest EV manufacturer in the world and
Chinese companies are producing the largest amount of lithium
chemicals for the batteries.
There are 25
companies, which are making 51 models of electric cars in China
This year we will see
over 500,000 EVs sold in China. It took GM 7 years to sell
100,000 Chevy Volts from 2009. BYD will sell 100,000 EVs this
November 2016 report)
The size of the reserves
of Lithium in Afghanistan have not been firmly established.
Analysts believe that these reserves which are yet to be exploited
will not have a significant impact on the global lithium market.