US media are breaking reports of ‘huge’ mineral
discoveries in Afghanistan: finds ‘change the whole
ball game in the region’.

The US may have at last found a reason to make the fight against Afghanistan’s Taliban one that will go down to the wire: nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits have been discovered in Afghanistan, ‘by a team of Pentagon mineralogists’.

The new finds — which embrace iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so vast (and relevant to contemporary needs) Afghanistan could be transformed into a globally important miner, the New York Times reports.

Lithium is a vital raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys. Crucially, the value of the deposits would make Afghanistan’s existing dependence on opium production and narcotics trafficking relatively peripheral by comparison – given the the country’s gdp is somewhere between $10-15 billion now. President Karzai and his top officials have been brief on the find.

But observers are asking this afternoon: what were ‘Pentagon mineralogists’ doing there in the first place?