Contact Us

Why is America Failing in Afghanistan?

- DR. Abdul-Qayum Mohmand

Analysis of “CIA World Factbook” (1981-2012): Dimensions of anti-Pashtun Conspirac

Afghan Fury at Planned Pakistan Pact
What Happens When the U.S. Leaves Afghanistan?
Trying to leave Afghanistan proves to be as troublesome as being there: A Closer Look
Afghanistan: “It’s Just Damage Limitation Now”
Zero Dark Thirty Review-Analysis; Eleven Instances of Disinformation
Why is America Failing in Afghanistan?
US forces in Afghanistan nearly destroyed vital airfield
We Are Those Two Afghan Children, Killed by NATO While Tending Their Cattle
Former Islamist Warlord Vies for Afghan Presidency
Pakistan releases top Afghan Taliban prisoner in effort to boost peace process
Losing the War in Afghanistan
Obama’s troop increase for Afghan war was misdirected
Afghan security vacuum feared along "gateway to Kabul"
Objections to U.S. Troops Intensify in Afghanistan
The Great Afghan corruption scam
War zone killing: Vets feel 'alone' in their guilt
Was Osama for Real? And Was He Killed in 2001?
Afghanistan withdrawal: The risks of retreat
The Real Reason the US Invaded Afghanistan
The Definition of a Quagmire
Huge Uncertainty' in Afghanistan
Controversial ID Cards Expose Ethnic Divisions In Afghanistan
Afghanistan: The Final Curtain Call for NATO?
Afghanistan After 9/11: A Mission Unaccomplished
Why Should Taliban and Other Insurgents Refrain from Negotiation With the US & NATO? By: Dr Mohammed Daud Miraki, MA, MA, Ph

Exclusive: Karzai family looks to extend boss rule in Afghanistan.

Intrigue in Karzai Family as an Afghan Era Closes
For Afghans, Two Outrages, Two Different Reactions
Double blow to west’s Afghan strategy
Does the Taliban need a diplomatic voice?
Afghanistan: Lessons in War and Peace-building for US
Afghan women opposed by former allies
Q+A - Haqqani: From White House guest to staunch U.S. enemy
Haqqanis: Growth of a militant network -BBC
Afghanistan shelves plans for ambassador accused of fraud
Afghan nominated as ambassador to Britain was accused in US of fraud
U.S. deal with Taliban breaks down
The Loneliness of the Afghan President: Karzai on His Own

NATO's Third Alternative in Afghanistan

On the Road: Interview with Commander Abdul Haq:- The Tragedy of Abdul Haq
When the Lion Roared: How Abdul Haq Almost Saved Afghanistan
Pakistan’s ISI: Undermining Afghan self-determination since 1948
Mineral Wealth of Afghanistan, Military Occupation, Corruption and the Rights of the Afghan People
M. Siddieq Noorzoy
Why Isn’t the UN Investigating and Prosecuting the U.S. and NATO for War Crimes Committed in Afghanistan?
Corruption and Warlordism:
Abdul Basir Stanikzai
In Afghanistan, U.S. contracts aren’t crystal balls, but they come close
The great Afghan carve-up
Anatomy of an Afghan war tragedy
Terry Jones Actually Burns a Qur’an and No One Notices
Q+A-Are Afghan forces ready to take over security?
Guantánamo Bay files rewrite the story of Osama bin Laden's Tora Bora escape
Winning Afghan hearts, minds with explosives
Afghanistan’s Mercenaries
Who is winning Afghanistan war? U.S. officials increasingly disagree
Afghanistan: The Trouble With The Transition
From the Archives: In Quest of a ‘Greater Tajikistan’
The 1980s mujahideen, the Taliban and the shifting idea of jihad
Afghanistan's Karzai complains about interference
Karzai, US ambassador at odds over private security

Karzai Tells Washington Post U.S. Should Reduce Afghan Operation Intensity

Excerpts from Afghan President Hamid Karzai's interview with The Washington Post
What the Afghans Want
New US approach to Afghanistan insurgency: Vindication for Pakistan?
Putting Some Fight Into Our Friends
Afghans 'abused at secret prison
Why We Won’t Leave Afghanistan or Iraq
Indo-Pakistan proxy war heats up in Afghanistan
Canada’s elite commandos and the invasion of Afghanistan
U.S. retreat from Afghan valley marks recognition of blunder
Five myths about the war in Afghanistan
Marine who resigned over ‘conscience’ speaks at MU
The Afghan media may have grown since Taliban rule ended, but not so press freedoms
Mystery holes and angry ants: another Afghan day
Kabul Bank's Sherkhan Farnood feeds crony capitalism in Afghanistan
Marjah War
Operation Moshtarak: Which way the war in Afghanistan?
Q&A: Why Marjah, why now?
In Jalalabad, hope is fading
Seeking reconciliation, US units meet remote Afghanistan tribes
Once Again, Get the Hell Out! "Ending the War in Afghanistan"
Blackwater Kept a Prostitute on the Payroll in Afghanistan; Fraudulently Billed American Tax Payers
Wild West Motif Lightens US Mood at Afghan Bas
In southern Afghanistan, even the small gains get noticed
 Afghanistan war: US tries to undercut Taliban at tribal level
 Soviet lessons from Afghanistan
Are actions of 'super-tribe' an Afghan tipping point
Taliban: Terrorist or not? Not always easy to say
Q&A: Who else could help in Afghanistan?
Vietnam Replay on Afghan 'Defectors'
Washington's Refusal to Talk about Drone Strikes in Pakistan Meets Growing Opposition
Afghanistan summit: Why is the US backing talks with the Taliban?
Taliban's leadership council runs Afghan war from Pakistan
Why buy the Taliban?
2 Afghanistan conferences: No solutions
An Alternative to Endless War - Negotiating an Afghan Agreement?
Do the Taliban represent the Pashtuns?
Afghanistan asks ex-presidential contender to tackle corruption

Tehran Sets Conditions For Attending London Conference On Afghanista

Pakistan says reaches out to Afghan Taliban
Taking It to the Taliban
The Afghan Taliban's top leaders
How significant is Mullah Baradar's arrest?
Secret Joint Raid Captures Taliban’s Top Commander
What's the Quetta Shura Taliban and why does it matter?
What's behind latest Taliban attack on Kabul? See Images of the Attack By WSJ

Pakistan Version of Islam and Taliban ?????
Lahore fashion week takes on Talibanization in Pakistan

Loyalties of Those Killed in Afghan Raid Remain Unclear

After Attack, Afghans Question Motives or See Conspiracies
Gates: Taliban part of Afghan ‘political fabric’

IG: Afghan power-plant project ill-conceived, mismanaged

Taliban intensifies Afghan PR campaign

Taliban Overhaul Their Image in Bid to Win Allies
Karzai plans to woo Taliban with 'land, work and pensions'
Peace scheme mooted for Taliban
Bombs and baksheesh
But By All Means, Continue the Happy Talk on the Afghanistan War
Karzai Closing in on Taliban Reconciliation Plan
Last Exit Kabul
How To Get Out Without Forsaking Afghanistan's Stability
Afghan Recovery Report: Taleban Buying Guns From Former Warlords

'Jesus Guns': Two More Countries Rethink Using Weapons with Secret Bible References

Gun bible quotes 'inappropriate'
Text of Joint declaration of Afghanistan-Iran-Pakistan trilateral meeting
Garmsir Protest Shows Taleban Reach
Rugged North Waziristan harbors US enemies
The Arrogance of Empire, Detailed ( The Untold Story of Afghanistan )
Appointment of Afghan counter narcotics chief dismays British officials
In Afghanistan attack, CIA fell victim to series of miscalculations about informant
Rebuilding Afghanistan: Will government take hold in this post-Taliban town?
Rare bird discovered in Afghan mountains
Blackwater, now called Xe, in running for work in Afghanistan despite legal woes
How Soviet troops stormed Kabul palace
Afghan children 'die in fighting'
Afghanistan war: Russian vets look back on their experience
U.N. Officials Say American Offered Plan to Replace Karzai 
Learning From the Soviets
U.S. faults Afghan corruption body's independence
Intensify fight against corruption, says Afghan meeting
Afghan ministers cleared of charges
Drone aircraft in a stepped-up war in Afghanistan and Pakistan
U.S. Air Force Confirms 'Beast of Kandahar' Secret Stealth Drone Plane
Kissinger's fantasy is Obama's realit
Taliban shadow officials offer concrete alternative
Talking with the Taliban
20. Ashraf Ghani and Clare Lockhart
'Yes, there was torture and people were certainly beaten': Afghan warden
Why we should leave Afghanistan
US pours millions into anti-Taliban militias in Afghanistan
Pakistan to US: Don't surge in Afghanistan, talk to Taliban
A Plan C for Afghanistan
Finding decent cabinet is Karzai's big challenge
A way to get around Karzai in Afghanistan
Corruption fight boosted by 'Afghan FBI'
US demands Afghan 'bribery court'
Afghanistan plans court for corrupt ministers
The man leading Afghanistan's anti-corruption fight
Win hearts and minds in Afghanistan to win the war
Gates blocks abuse photos release
New U.S. Afghan prison unveiled, rights groups wary
War in Afghanistan: Not in our name
How the US Funds the Taliban
Afghan gov't says UN representative out of line
Cabinet of Warlords
Afghanistan and the lessons of history
Clinton says Karzai ‘must do better’
Recognizing the Limits of American Power in Afghanistan
After Afghanistan election, governors seek distance from 'illegal' Karzai
Karzai was hellbent on victory. Afghans will pay the price
Matthew Hoh: Please refute what I'm saying, we are stuck in the Afghan civil war
As US looks for exit in Afghanistan, China digs in
America's Top Diplomat Tells 'Nightline': 'Not Every Taliban Is al Qaeda'
Obama Can’t Make Russian Mistake in Afghanistan
10 Steps to Victory in Afghanistan
Will Obama change Afghan strategy?
Does the U.S. still have a vital interest in Afghanistan?
Pashtuns and Pakistani
The Afghan '80s are back
Pashtun peace prophet goes global
Afghan Road Builder's Dream Thwarted by Violence
A white elephant in Kabul
The Afghan Runoff: Will It Be a No-Show Election?

Ashraf Ghani- Afghanistan's Disputed Election Complicates U.S. Strategy

On Assignment: Into the Maw at Marja

Patrick Witty & Tyler Hicks
The New York Times

Afghanistan Cross Road CNN

The last frontier

Bruce Richardson


CIA: Buying peace in Afghanistan?

With Bags of Cash, C.I.A. Seeks Influence in Afghanistan
CIA Ghost Money: Karzai Confirms U.S. Gives Funds To Afghan National Security Team
What the CIA’s cash has bought for Afghanistan

Khalilzad: A Satan Whispering in the Hearts of Men
The Afghan trust deficitt
Will We Learn Anything from Afghanistan? Part 1
Getting Out of Afghanistan: Part 2
William R. Polk
General’s Defense on Afghan Scandal Ducks Key Evidence
Afghans want Taliban peace talks
Bombing Weddings in Afghanistan: It Couldn't Happen Here, It Does Happen There
Hekmatyar's never-ending Afghan war
Covert American Aid to the Afghan Resistance; A Top-Secret U.S. Foreign Policy Plot to Induce and Effect Soviet Military Intervention
Afghan brain drain fears as Karzai urges education reforms

US considers launching joint US-Afghan raids in Pakistan to hunt down militant groups

Real security in Afghanistan depends on people's basic needs being met
Intractable Afghan Graft Hampering U.S. Strategy
Former Taliban Officials Say U.S. Talks Started
Taliban ready for talks with US, not Karzai government
Emboldened Taliban Try to Sell Softer Image
Leaked NATO Report Shows Pakistan Support For Taliban
Insight: Few options for Afghan, U.S. leaders after Kandahar massacre
Presenter: Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Daoud Sultanzoy, Tolo Television
NATO’s measured exit plan in Afghanistan faces new obstacles
BFP Exclusive: Karzai Clan Attorney Threatens US Journalist, Uses Intimidation Tactics
Afghanistan Chronicles
Arduous path to Afghan 'end-game'
Fear in the classrooms: is the Taliban poisoning Afghanistan's schoolgirls?
A comment on the recent events of student poisoning in Afghanistan
Rape Case, in Public, Cites Abuse by Armed Groups in Afghanistan
Afghanistan’s Peace Talks Hit Brick Wall
King Karzai
A Federal System of Government is Not Suitable for Afghanistan
Analysis: Where Afghan humanitarianism ends and development begins
U.S. Envoy: Kabulbank Was 'Vast Looting Scheme'
Speaking with the enemy: how US commanders fight the Taliban during the day and dine with them at night
Afghanistan: Operation Enduring Musery
How to Win Peace in Afghanistan
For Karzai, Stumbles On Road To Election
Cruel human toll of fight to win Afghan peace
Criticism of Afghan War Is on the Rise in Britain
Troops 'fighting for UK's future'
Operation in Taliban hotbed a test for revamped U.S. strategy
Covering Crucial Afghanistan Operation
Afghans still skeptical about Obama
US Defence Department struggling with public release of report on bombing in Afghanistan
Afghanistan on the Edge
Q+A: Who are the Pakistani Taliban insurgents?
Afghanistan Past & Present
Bombs for Pashtoons and Dollars for Punjab
Help! I'm being outgunned on K Street!
ANGELS CHASING DEMONS: “Jesus Killed Mohammad”!
U.S. tested 2 Afghan scenarios in war game
America's Top Diplomat Tells 'Nightline': 'Not Every Taliban Is al Qaeda'
Obama hearing range of views on Afghanistan
What Do Afghans Want? Withdrawal - But Not Too Fast - and A Negotiated Peace
Will Obama change Afghan strategy?
What Do Afghans Want? Withdrawal - But Not Too Fast - and A Negotiated Peace
Afghans tricked into U.S. trip, detained
In the Afghan War, Aim for the Middle
Obama pulled two ways in Afghanistan
Obama Can’t Make Russian Mistake in Afghanistan
10 Steps to Victory in Afghanistan
Gates: Mistake to set time line for Afghan withdrawal
Afghans question what democracy has done for them
High stakes in Afghan vote recount
Two Perspectives On Resolving The Afghan Postelection Crisis
Does the U.S. still have a vital interest in Afghanistan?
Pashtuns and Pakistanis
The Afghan '80s are back
How to Lose in Afghanistan
US in Afghanistan proposes revamped strategy
US 'needs fresh Afghan strategy'
US looks to Vietnam for Afghan tips
Lessons from Vietnam on Afghanistan
Afghan Pres. Skips Country's 1st TV Debate
A proud moment for Afghanistan
Rival to Karzai Gains Strength in Afghan Presidential Election
Afghan presidential candidate withdraws in Karzai's favor
America and international law
Hamid Karzai pulls out of historic TV debate just hours before broadcast
Karzai says no to first Afghanpresidential debate
Afghan election: Can Karzai's rivals close the gap?
Karzai opponents hope to beat him in second round
Afghanistan's Election Challenges
For Karzai, Stumbles On Road To Election
Pentagon Seeks to Overhaul Prisons in Afghanistan
Cruel human toll of fight to win Afghan peace
Karzai’s gimmick
Well-known traffickers set free ahead of election
US president sets Afghan target
U.S. Inaction Seen After Taliban P.O.W.’s Died
Why the Pentagon Axed Its Afghanistan Warlord
Earn our trust or go, Afghans tell GIs
The Irresistible Illusion
Running Out Of Options, Afghans Pay For an Exit
We've lost sight of our goal in Afghanistan
$2,000 for a dead Afghan Child, $100,000 for Any American Who Died Killing it
The strategy is sound – but success is not assured
Operation in Taliban hotbed a test for revamped U.S. strategy
Covering Crucial Afghanistan Operation
Pentagon Seeks to Overhaul Prisons in Afghanistan
Echoes of Vietnam
A Response To General Dostum
Obama orders probe of killings in Afghanistan
Obama admin: No grounds to probe Afghan war crimes
US president sets Afghan target
U.S. Inaction Seen After Taliban P.O.W.’s Died
Afghanistan's Election Challenges
The Irresistible Illusion
Earn our trust or go, Afghans tell GIs
Running Out Of Options, Afghans Pay For an Exit

We've lost sight of our goal in Afghanistan

The strategy is sound – but success is not assured
Stakes High in Afghanistan Ahead of August Elections
$2,000 for a dead Afghan Child, $100,000 for Any American Who Died Killing it
Ex-detainees allege Bagram abuse
Petraeus Is a Failure -- Why Do We Pretend He's Been a Success?
Fierce Battles and High Casualties on the Frontlines of Afghanistan
End the Illegal, Immoral and Wasted War in Afghanistan, says BNP Defence Spokesman
Outside View: Four revolutions
Pakistan's Plans for New Fight Stir Concern
France: liberty, equality, and fraternity – but no burqas





Echoes of Vietnam

Even the Coalition commanders in Afghanistan wonder if they can win the war
Will history repeat itself in Afghanistan?

British military intervention in Afghanistan has a chequered history, making it easy to conclude that British forces will fail again


Mineral Wealth of Afghanistan, Military Occupation, Corruption and the Rights of the Afghan People
By: M. Siddieq Noorzoy, Professor of Economics, Emeritus - Director, Afghan Research Society International

The report in New York Times about the announcement of “Vast Mineral Deposits Found in Afghanistan”, on June 13, 2010 by James Risen is not a surprise to some of us who have been working on the Afghan economy for decades. What is not clear is the range and significance of any new discoveries that might have been made in the last nine years. In 1987 in an article entitled “ Soviet Economic Interests in Afghanistan”, Problems of Communism ( a US Government publication) May-June issue pages 43-54, I had summarized ( in table 3 ) of the publication the list and classifications of the mineral findings of a book De Afghanistan Kany Manabi, Ministry of Mines and Industries, Kabul. This book containing 420 pages and charts and maps on mineral resources of Afghanistan was originally published in Russian and then translated in English in 1977. The summary in the above article also contained the number of deposits of the minerals including what is mentioned in the New York Times report such as iron, copper, cobalt, gold, and lithium, etc. The Pentagon sources state that these minerals are all over Afghanistan including the south and the eastern areas of the country. That is what the original publication also showed. The New York Times article quoting US officials refers to Afghanistan as the “Saudi Arabia of lithium”. The 1977 book showed lithium deposits, a mineral used in laptops, to be present in 44 areas in Afghanistan. Laptops were not prevalent in 1977. Afghanistan indeed could be the largest source in the world for lithium mining. Further, many of the deposits such as large deposit of iron ore in the Hajigak area and copper in Aynak have been known to exist for decades since the 1960’s. Also, there were 4 areas of deposits of radio active materials sited such as uranium, thorium and rare earth ( the last of which is increasingly becoming important in many industries including defense, computers and auto for special batteries and magnets according to a report on PBS June 14, 2010) and 105 deposits of precious metals including gold and placer gold. All together more than 1,400 deposits, ‘occurrences and showings’ were reported in 1977. Then in 1983 one of the mujahideen commanders informed me that he had found a report of new mineral deposits by the Russians and was going to forwarded it, which did not take place as the commander was killed unfortunately. The article in Problems of Communism ( Table 2 ) also cited the large exports of Soviet machinery for mineral exploration and development to Afghanistan amounting for example to $192 million for 1979-1984. Yet, Afghan sales of gas to the Soviet Union were the only export of mineral resources officially reported. Neither Afghan exports nor Soviet imports showed any other mineral resources going from Afghanistan to the Soviet Union. The imports of large quantities of machinery to Afghanistan remained a mystery.

Mineral deposits in Afghanistan belong to the central treasury traditionally. Yet, illegal mining has taken place such as in Panjsher for emeralds and lapis lazuli. The New York Times article is referencing US officials unaware of the mining laws and traditions in Afghanistan. Foreign entities can only sign contracts with the government of Afghanistan, not with provinces. Several other issues also need explanation and some which are mentioned in the New York Times report are surprising. First, The US has been surveying Afghanistan shortly after the invasion. An article is on our web site www.afghanresearchsociety.org written on August 12, 2006 about the new findings on the oil and gas reserves in the northern areas of Afghanistan announced by the US Geological Survey team. What is surprising about the statement by the Pentagon is that the surveys carried out by the Afghan and Russian teams in the 1960’s and 1970’s the results of which were not known to US officials. Further, the New York Times reporter as usual in media reporting have to add sensationalism by the following statement, “during the chaos of the 1990s, when Afghanistan was mired in civil war and later ruled by the Taliban, a small group of Afghan geologists protected the charts by taking them home, and returned them to the Geological Survey’s library only after the American invasion and the ouster of the Taliban in 2001”. The fact was that the report of 1977 and the mineral charts were available in few places all along and they did not need to be hidden from the Taliban or any one else. Further, this also shows that the US military knew about the mineral resources of Afghanistan as early as 2001. Second, it has become clear why these mineral resources have not been commercially exploited. The reasons, are, of course, decades of wars including two invasions and civil wars.

In 1976 the First Seven Year Plan formulated by the government of Mohammad Doad laid the description for building a steel industry, chemicals and other heavy industries and railroad transportation in Afghanistan, all of which were thrown out following the communist coup de tat on April 27, 1978. But, equally important have been other factors in the lack of development all these years, viz., lack of infrastructure such as large supplies of power and transportation facilities especially in the rugged mountains of Afghanistan, and lack of capital to finance such large cost projects. The Chinese multi-billion dollar investment to extract copper at Aynak is the first major foreign contract since the Russian contracts in the 1960’s for the development of gas fields in Jagdalak and other areas in the north.

The Pentagon speaks of making arrangements for international bids in the Fall this year for the mineral exploitations. What is surprising about the role of the Pentagon is its involvement in the mineral resources of Afghanistan, and as the New York Times reported that already events have been into motion involving “international accounting firms that have expertise in mining contracts have been hired to consult with the Afghan Ministry of Mines, and technical data is being prepared to turn over to multinational mining companies and other potential foreign investors. The Pentagon is helping Afghan officials arrange to start seeking bids on mineral rights by next fall, officials said.” Further, “the Ministry of Mines is not ready to handle this,” quoting Mr. Brinkley. Yet, there are news reports that at a meeting this month in London international mining companies are invited to explore the development of the Hajigak iron ore deposits. In the same report two other significantly related issues are raised, i.e. the reported $30 million bribe that the former Minister of Mines was to have received from the Chinese for the Aynak copper contract, and that, “the vast scale of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth was discovered by a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists” and, “the Afghan government and President Hamid Karzai were recently briefed, American officials said”. Again this seems strange, who has discovered what exactly, if most of the information announced by the Pentagon officials existed decades ago. Then, it is not surprising that the officials of the Afghan regime would have no clue about the mining resources until it is pointed out to them. Lack of knowledge on the part of the individuals involved in the economic affairs of Afghanistan since 2001 is not surprising; none of them was known to have done extensive research or even having studied the works of others when they took over the affairs of Afghanistan. This is true of the members of Northern Alliance, whose names have appeared on the list of those guilty of crimes against humanity and other crimes, but, with one slight exception of an anthropologist who had done work on the Afghan economy, none of the others had a clue about what the prevailing conditions of the Afghan economy, or its past history of development and growth were. The result is that nearly all main indicators of the Afghan economy have become worse despite the claims made by the World Bank, the IMF and the regime in Kabul and despite some $300 billion that US alone has spent on Afghanistan as claimed by official sources. These sources including the World Bank et al., talk about double digit economic growth and yet ignore 70% plus unemployment, or the fact that poverty has increased and with it crime, drug production and its use, corruption and many other social ills since the US led invasion and re-instillation of warlords and criminals and former communists as rulers of Afghanistan.

So what is one to make of all this with respect to the announcement of the mineral riches at this time? Karzai did not know what the Pentagon officials were doing, and the Pentagon officials did not know that the mineral deposits they are talking about have been on the books for decades. Yet, the announcement about the “the vast finds” comes at the time that the US and NATO ( British and Canadians reportedly) are preparing to attack Kandahar, which we think is the wrong policy aggravating conditions in Afghanistan. This after the fiasco of Marja, where months after the attack on the township insecurity continues, a convict by the name of Abdul Zahir was brought from Germany to run the affairs of Marja ( latimes.com March 7, 2010; Christian Science Monitor, March 15, 2010 ) and where socially displaced Afghans have gone as far as Kabul as refugees, as well as the surrounding areas such as Lashgarga , without any assistance as shown by the Afghan media. The residents of Marja also fear the return of the former predatory leaders who had taken their lands. The Marja “model” was for further US-cum-NATO military operations in Afghanistan of the strategy of ‘clear, hold, and build’. What might happen in Kandahar will be ten times worse if only the sizes of the population are taken as a measure of what is to follow. The news about the “vast” mineral resources released by the Pentagon at this time and widely discussed is seen as a distraction in the ongoing discussions of the US policy toward Afghanistan. We hope that US policy makers will keep issues relating to the mineral resources transparent and treat the mineral resources of Afghanistan as solely belonging to the people of Afghanistan and above and beyond wrongful exploitation.

Given that Karzai did not know any thing about the mineral resources of his country he is leading and his regime’s officials are accused of rampant corruption as exemplified by the contract for copper, and the fact that many of his high officials are on the list of the Afghan Human Right Commission for crimes of various sorts, the relevant question here is “what about the rights of the Afghan people”? After all the claim by General Stanly McChrystal in the war he is shaping in Afghanistan is now “to protect” the Afghan people and presumably their interests. However, given the history of military occupations around the world, already questions are being asked among Afghan circles, who is going to protect the Afghan people from wrongful exploitation of their mineral resources under the present war conditions, especially when honest and dedicated Afghans are not in charge of the affairs of Afghanistan? This is a concern that Afghans have had following the Russian occupation of Afghanistan exemplified by exploitation of the gas fields of the country in the north which was shown to have been wrongfully exploited; discussed in the article in Problems of Communism.

The Pentagon has been in charge of US policy toward Afghanistan all the while since the invasion in 2001. The New York Times article relates this issue clearly in the case of the development of the mineral resources in Afghanistan. If the Afghan economy is run by oligarchs and warlords and corrupt officials having been enriched through foreign bribes and domestic seizures of private properties as is known by the Afghan people at large and discussed on the Afghan TV networks often, even if international contracts for mineral extraction are generated with good intentions by the US officials who is going to sign these contracts on behalf of the Afghan people?

Some may point to the investment law that was formulated after the invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001. The law is available on the web site of Afghan government and in other places. This law provides no protection for labor or the environment especially involving mineral exploitations. Historically mining has been notorious in many countries damaging the environment of the host countries. This is a critical issue in a distorted political and economic system such as exist in Afghanistan with ineffective government, rampant corruption, and lack of effective laws and their enforcement. Further, the investment law puts domestic investors at a distinct disadvantage and allows 100% foreign ownership with very generous no tax policy for years that can be extended and repatriation of capital and profits. Afghanistan had an investment law revised in 1974 which looked after these issues. That law was drawn up by the Afghan government. The post 2001 invasion investment law was drawn up with the help of the World Bank.
It is our view that no contracts should be signed under present conditions for the exploitation of any of the mineral resources until a new law is drawn up for mineral development reflecting the interests of the Afghan people and Afghanistan. At the same time we do not want to discourage international investment in Afghanistan. Most of all it is critical that the war is ended so that the Afghan people can start paying attention to the recovery and development of the economy.

Fundamentally there are two areas of the Afghan economy which can generate sufficient output and income to minimize the extreme unemployment of over 70% and extreme poverty. These areas are agriculture and the development of the mineral resources. Both require long term planning and much investment. Both have been neglected for years. The only path is one of peace going forward and to see a negotiated peace settlement to end the war and establish security throughout Afghanistan without which little progress can be seen. Full participation of all the Afghan people in their government is necessary, elimination of corruption by the removal of all corrupt elements of the regime, and formation of a new government in a post peace settlement working for the benefit of the Afghan people are all obvious requirements. The Afghan Diaspora is richly filled with highly qualified Afghans in different fields, only a new post war government working for the people can attract their services.

It is also better to see the US and European NATO countries, and others come back to Afghanistan not as occupiers, but, as investors in a new environment partly described above. Finally, in all likelihood no foreign investor from the countries fighting a war is likely to go to Afghanistan and expect to safely invest. China can safely invest in Afghanistan, because it is not at war with Afghanistan. Yet, the Chinese investment in the Aynak copper mines won over by the Chinese bid from Western companies is felt to be a threat to Western interests in Afghanistan, the New York Times article points out. This kind of competition is healthy for Afghanistan and reminds us of the competition between the US and the former Soviet Union of decades ago in several areas of the Afghan economy. At the same time the re-emergence of the issue of mineral resources of Afghanistan should encourage all warring parties to the peace table, and could be a starting point how mutually beneficial investments could be made in what is described a multi-trillion dollar sector.

If the development of the mineral resources is to bring peace and economic gains the full rights of the Afghan people must be respected. At the present the prevailing conditions do not reflect that, and we think it is premature to give out long term contracts to foreign multi-billion dollar companies and shut out the Afghan investors who have no comparable means to bid on these contracts.

We propose a consortium of Afghan public and private investors sharing 51% in the development of the mineral resources where ever possible. It is necessary to revisit the 1974 investment law, which opened the door for foreign investment and yet provided safeguards for Afghanistan. This law was analyzed in my article “ an analysis of foreign and domestic private investment law of 1974”, Afghanistan Journal, Jg.4, Heft 1, pp.29-31, 1977, Graz, Austria. Technical advice may be obtained from international mineral experts, but, the foreign investment law must be drawn by known and respected Afghan specialists for safeguarding the interests of Afghanistan.


The articles and letters are the opinion of the writers and are not representing the view of Sabawoon Online.
Copyright © 1996 - 2024 Sabawoon. All rights reserved.