Afghanistan hub of mineral wealth

Afghanistan has been found to possess massive reserves of minerals, but is still being left with no choice but to make ends meat with poppy production.

Afghanistan hub of mineral wealth

World Bulletin / News Desk

Last month, the US Department of Defense released a map detailing the mineral wealth of Afghanistan.

It is highly believed that Afghanistan sits on a region rich with copper, gold, cobalt and lithium, with a memo published by the US Pentagon stating that Afghanistan had the potential to be the “Saudi Arabia of lithium”.

In the past, Afghanistan has been popular largely for its poppy production, which was banned by the Taliban due to being used to produce illegal drugs such as heroin. After the US invasion in 2001, however, the poppy production resumed. Afghanistan now produces 60% of the global supply of heroin.

However, with the finding of minerals across the mountainous country, Afghans no longer have to depend on producing drugs for survival. Despite this, the Soviets had actually realized Afghanistan’s mineral potential long ago.

In the 1970s, the Soviets discovered that Afghanistan had huge reserves of precious and semiprecious stones as well as uranium. Later, in the 1980s, an exploration team found reserves in Copper, Iron ore, Beryllium, Lithium, Tantalum, Niobium and much more.

In 1979 the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan most likely for the control of these resources, but was pushed back by the Mujahideen after losing 15,000 soldiers over its 9-year occupation. However, as one of Afghanistan’s main customers for heroin, the Russians have been suffering even more since Afghan poppy production was resumed, losing up to 20,000 mainly young citizens every year to addiction and overdose related deaths.

With such mineral wealth, one has no choice but to wonder why Afghans are being given no choice but to make a living through poppy production.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Ocak 2014, 11:56