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  1. #1
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    Default Afghanistan mission a total failure

    Afghanistan mission a total failure

    THIS year the Australian Defence Force will pull out of Afghanistan's Oruzgan Province without having achieved the objectives for which it was sent. That means Australia's military operation in Afghanistan has failed. It is important to face this uncomfortable fact and learn from it what we can.

    Do not expect this from government, the opposition or the ADF. They will all keep saying our soldiers are coming home because their mission has been successfully achieved. That is simply false and they all know it to be false.
    We can understand why they keep claiming success nonetheless. There is the usual reluctance to pay the political price of admitting that any policy has failed. But admitting that this policy has failed is especially hard because it has cost, so far, the lives of 39 Australians, and terrible injuries to many more.

    Our military failure in Afghanistan is complex because our reasons for sending forces to Oruzgan have been complex. The simplest reason has been to deny Afghanistan to al-Qaeda, but this never made sense. Al-Qaeda was out of Afghanistan and sprouting elsewhere long before we went to Oruzgan. The more sophisticated reason was to make sure al-Qaeda didn't come back by defeating the Taliban insurgency and fostering a government in Kabul that was effective, stable, just and pro-Western.
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    Instead, we leave Afghanistan with a deeply corrupt and incompetent government exercising little authority over most of the country and people it is supposed to govern, and no serious prospect that a better government will emerge. Meanwhile, the Taliban seems as strong as ever, and as we withdraw it could soon take back at least a share of the grip on the government in Kabul that it lost in the last weeks of 2001.

    There was never any reason to expect a better result. It was always a fantasy that Western military intervention could fundamentally transform Afghanistan's political and social fabric, which is what our objective presupposed.
    The fantasy was called Counterinsurgency, or COIN. Its advocates said that our forces could turn Afghanistan into the country we wanted it to be by fanning out among the people, winning their hearts and minds and building support for the regime in Kabul by providing security and aid programs.

    The formula has been tried in many places since the Western empires collapsed, and it has always failed, just as it has failed again now. Even 200,000 Western troops were far too few to make it work in Afghanistan, and even three times that number could do nothing to make the government in Kabul look good to the Afghan people.

    Yet again, COIN has stumbled on the inherent contradiction that lies at its heart. Any government that is too weak to win a counterinsurgency without massive outside help is too weak to be worth supporting.

    After this became clear a few years ago, the Western governments intervening in Afghanistan changed their story again. They stopped saying their aim was to transform the country themselves, and talked instead about training the Afghan army and police so that they could provide the security needed for the Afghans to build their country.

    The government was soon telling us that this was now the key mission for Australia's forces in Oruzgan, and also our exit pass. Once the Afghan forces in our province were trained enough to provide security, they argued, the ADF could leave. And this is the job they now say has been done successfully.

    This is nonsense. Despite years of hard and dangerous work, the Afghan security forces remain what they have always been: undermotivated, undertrained, underequipped and underfunded. Above all they are woefully led - especially at the higher levels.

    And how could it be otherwise? Even if we had succeeded in building strong Afghan forces, what would have been the point when there is no credible government for them to serve and support? The forces we are leaving behind in Oruzgan will do nothing to prevent the province sliding even deeper into the abyss once we are gone.

    Of course none of these failures are Australia's alone, because we have been part of an American-led coalition.

    And as many people understand, this is the real reason the government sent our forces to Afghanistan and have kept them there - to support our ally. And the real reason we are leaving is that they are leaving.

    But they are leaving not just because they are sick of the war and no longer believe it can be ''won''. They are leaving because they have new strategic priorities - especially in Asia. And here is the final source of our failure in Afghanistan. We sent forces there to bolster our alliance with the US, just as we have been sending them to every American conflict in the Middle East for decades. We did that because when Asia was at peace this was what America expected of us.

    But now all that is changing. America no longer cares much what we have done in Afghanistan, because it now sees China as its biggest strategic challenge. Today it judges Australia's worth as an ally by the support we provide it against China - politically as the two giants jockey for influence, and militarily if they come to blows. The depth of our failure in Afghanistan is that our service and sacrifice there has already become irrelevant to the alliance it was supposed to support. Even tougher tests lie ahead.

    Hugh White is professor of strategic studies at ANU's Strategic and Defence Studies Centre.


    http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/pol...204-2duf0.html

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    Talks with Taliban


    Then


    7th October 2001: United States refused to negotiate with Afghan Taliban's government and launched Operation Enduring Freedom, which was to defeat the Taliban and set up a new Afghan government. Troops from 43 countries supported United States in this mission.


    Now


    June 2013, Doha Qatar - Guess what? The world's most organized army, equipped with most sophisticated weapons and furious war machinery is going to hold negotiations with the dispersed, highly unorganized and inadequately equipped group resisting against troops of 43 countries, The Afghan Taliban.






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    Afghanistan Mineral Wealth May Be Greater Than Estimated: $3 Trillion

    06/17/2010

    KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan is gearing up to award contracts to mine one the world's largest iron ore deposits buried in a peaceful province of the war-torn nation that has at least $3 trillion in untapped minerals, the country's top mining official said Thursday.

    Geologists have known for decades about Afghanistan's vast deposits of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and other prized minerals, but a U.S. Department of Defense briefing earlier this week put a startling, nearly $1 trillion price tag on the reserves.

    Afghanistan's Minister of Mines Wahidullah Shahrani called that a conservative estimate. He said he's seen geological assessments and industry reports estimating the nation's mineral wealth at $3 trillion or more.

    For Afghanistan, a violent, landlocked country with virtually no exports, it is a potential windfall, although formidable obstacles remain including lack of investment, infrastructure and adequate security in most of the nation.

    "The ministry has been working closely with the international organizations, including the World Bank, the U.S. Geological Survey and the international mining and finance community for some time to ensure all of the Afghan people benefit from our rich natural resources for decades to come," he said.

    Shahrani plans to travel to Britain next week to present 200 foreign businessmen with information about the estimated 2 billion tons of iron ore at Hajigak in Bamiyan province, where the Taliban and other insurgents have no significant presence. The project is to be bid on this fall with contracts awarded late this year or early next year, he said.

    Critics of the war in Afghanistan have been skeptical that the dollar amount of the country's untapped minerals was being promoted at a time when violence is on the upswing and the international community is hungry for positive developments in the nearly 9-year-old war.

    They argue that if impoverished Afghanistan is seen as having a bright economic future, it could help foreign governments persuade their war-fatigued publics that securing the country is worth the fight and loss of troops.

    But Shahrani insisted that the release of the information, first reported earlier this week by The New York Times, followed months of work to assess the mineral deposits, sometimes with the aid of data compiled by the former Soviet Union when it was fighting in Afghanistan.

    A. Rahman Ashraf, senior adviser to the minister of mines, said that during decades of conflict, an Afghan geologist safeguarded data about the mineral reserves at home. He said the geologist, who has died, gave the information back to the government in 2002 and that since then, it has been used to help make modern assessments of the deposits.

    Shahrani said the Ministry of Mines and the U.S. Geological Survey had been sharing information for months.

    "We were just waiting for the exchange of information from Washington to Kabul," Shahrani said.

    Shahrani added that the ministry recently completed a business plan to restructure, reform and modernize the ministry and improve oversight to international standards. He said those efforts coupled with new minerals and hydrocarbon laws will work to improve the transparency and efficiency of mining in the nation.

    Still, without increased security and massive investment to mine and transport the minerals, it could take years for Afghanistan to bank the rewards. A rail line, for instance, is needed before any iron ore could be transported from Bamiyan. And there's always the potential that such a discovery could bring unintended consequences, such as corruption and competition among nations for access to the resources.

    In November, two U.S. officials familiar with intelligence reports alleged that Afghanistan's former minister of mines, Mohammad Ibrahim Adel, accepted $20 million after a $3 billion contract to mine copper was awarded in late 2007 to China Metallurgical Group Corp. The former minister has denied having taken any bribes and said the contract went through all legal channels.

    Aynak, a former al-Qaida stronghold 21 miles (35 kilometers) southeast of Kabul, is thought to hold one of the world's largest unexploited copper reserves. Mining the copper could produce 4,000 to 5,000 Afghan jobs in the next five years and hundreds of millions of dollars a year to the government treasury, Shahrani said.

    Craig Andrews, a lead mining specialist for the World Bank, said Aynak was expected to start producing copper within two to three years. Production of iron ore at Hajigak could begin in five to seven years, and possibly sooner, he said.

    Andrews noted that studies show that every mining job creates five to 10 other jobs.

    "Clearly, these mines will have a huge economic stimulus effect on not only the national economy, but the region in which they are located in," Andrews said. "I think when people have jobs and they have an income, they have a stake in the future and the future does not include insecurity. I think once the communities are anchored in an economy that gives them jobs money and income they would be less inclined to support the Taliban or other insurgent groups."

    He said the government, however, must guard against raising the expectations of the Afghan public.

    Otherwise, "people are going to go off and pick up a rock and think that they can go to the bank," he said. "Unfortunately the business doesn't operate that way. It takes a lot longer."


    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/0..._n_615449.html

    Comments:


    This is the REAL reason for wanting to go there and staying there. This and the setting up that oil pipeline through it.

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    Recent US Airstrikes Kill 22 Afghan Civilians, Mostly Women And Children



    The U.N. mission in Afghanistan expressed "grave concern" at the violence in Helmand, saying its initial inquiries suggest the airstrikes killed at least 18 civilians, "nearly all women and children."


    By AP | February 13, 2017

    KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (REPORT) — Afghan officials and local residents said Sunday that 22 civilians, mostly women and children, were killed during a joint operation carried out by U.S. and Afghan forces last week in the southern Helmand province.


    The presidential envoy for security in Helmand, Jabar Qahraman, said the raid against Taliban insurgents in the Sangin district killed 13 people from one family and nine from another.


    “We are saddened to hear the news of civilians being killed,” he said. “When the Taliban use civilians as their shield against security forces, such incidents occur.”


    U.S. Navy Cpt. Bill Salvin, a military spokesman, said “we are working diligently to determine whether civilians were killed or injured as a result of U.S. airstrikes” carried out to support Afghan forces in and around Sangin. The investigation is “continuing and has not reached any conclusions,” he added in a written statement.


    The U.N. mission in Afghanistan meanwhile expressed “grave concern” at the violence in Helmand, saying its initial inquiries suggest airstrikes by international forces killed at least 18 civilians, “nearly all women and children.”


    Hameed Gul, a local resident, said he lost nine members of his family, including his mother and sister, in Thursday’s raid. “It’s all lie that they were attacking the Taliban,” he told The Associated Press in the Helmand provincial capital, Lashkar Gah, where he was staying at the time of the raid.


    Kareem Atal, the head of the provincial council in Helmand, said a man, two women and two children who were wounded in the raid have been brought to Lashkar Gah for treatment.


    Helmand has seen months of heavy fighting between Afghan forces and the Taliban, who have repeatedly attacked Lashkar Gah. A suicide bomber targeting soldiers in the city on Saturday killed at least seven people.


    The Taliban have stepped up attacks across Afghanistan since the U.S. and NATO formally concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014, leaving a smaller contingent of troops behind to focus on training and counterterrorism.





    http://www.mintpressnews.com/recent-us-airstrikes-kill-22-afghan-civilians/224833/

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    Biggest Terrorism

    They are claiming they dropped it on tunnels with ISIS members in it. What they are not telling is that they dropped it on Achin district with a population of 90,000. This bomb has an destruction radius of 1 mile in every direction. So did they just kill 90,000 Afghan Muslims?!

    Also, a thing to note is that Russia, China, Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan were having a meeting in Afghanistan at this time on developing peace in the region.

    Here's Trump being very proud of it - https://www.facebook.com/doamuslims/...8425267871703/

    U.S. Tests Biggest Bomb by Dropping it on Afghanistan

    U.S. drops "mother of all bombs" in Afghanistan, marking weapon's first use

    April 13, 2017

    Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) weapon

    The U.S. dropped a bomb containing 11 tons of explosives on a cave complex
    used by the Afghanistan branch of (ISIS) along the border with Pakistan on Thursday, the Pentagon said.

    The bomb is officially called a GBU-43 or Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB), the origin of its nickname as the
    mother of all bombs.” The weapon is the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat.

    The strike had been in the works for a number of months, dating back to the Obama administration, CBS News correspondent David Martin reports. The weapon was brought into Afghanistan specifically for Thursday’s mission.

    At the White House, President Trump called the mission “another very, very successful mission.” Asked if he personally authorized the strike, Mr. Trump said “everybody knows exactly what happened.”

    “What I do is I authorize my military,” Mr. Trump said. “We have the greatest military in the world and they’ve done a job, as usual. So, we have given them total authorization. And that’s what they’re doing.”

    Earlier at the daily White House briefing, press secretary Sean Spicer declined to say whether Mr. Trump had personally authorized the use of the weapon.

    Spicer said that the strike targeted a “system of tunnels and caves that ISIS fighters used to move around freely.” He said the U.S. “took all precautions necessary” to minimize civilian casualties.

    General John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, sought and obtained permission to use the MOAB, but it’s unclear how far up the chain of command his request traveled, Martin reports.

    U.S. officials estimate there are approximately 800 ISIS fighters in Nangarhar province, down from a high of 2,000 since the group first gained a foothold in the area in 2015, NPR reported.

    In a statement, the U.S. command in Afghanistan said the strike was “designed to minimize the risk to Afghan and U.S. Forces conducting clearing operations in the area while maximizing the destruction of ISIS-K fighters and facilities,” using the term for ISIS’s Afghan contingent.

    The U.S. military debuted the 21,600-lb. MOAB during a test in Florida shortly before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
    The test was intended to demonstrate the “enormous incentive” Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had to relinquish power and “spare the world a conflict,” then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said at the time.

    The cloud of debris from the ensuing explosion in the 2003 test was visible from more than 20 miles away
    , according to the Air Force. U.S. and coalition forces invaded Iraq nine days later, and a MOAB was deployed to the region on April 1, 2003, but never used.



    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-drops...ons-first-use/

    Here's How A 21,000-Pound Bomb Would Affect Your City

    By Natasha Bertrand - April 13, 2017

    An online simulator called HYDESim, which stands for High-Yield Detonation Effects Simulator, "maps overpressure radii generated by a ground-level detonation."

    "These radii are an indicator of structural damage to buildings," the simulator says.

    Here's how the MOAB would affect New York City, based on the HYDESim's estimate of its explosive yield. (The exact yield is classified.)



    Based on the simulator's calculations, the effects of the bomb would be felt as far as a mile in each direction, and "most glass surfaces, such as windows, will shatter ... some with enough force to cause injury," according to the simulator.

    By contrast, the US's most powerful nuclear bomb — the B83, with a 1.2 megaton maximum yield — would have a blast radius of nearly 20 miles.

    Here's how the MOAB would affect Los Angeles:



    And London:



    Watch footage of the MOAB being tested: http://viewpure.com/i9H50tHiHjs?start=0&end=0

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/heres-...183103642.html





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    Video of the Bomb Impact

    The video shows the moment the bomb impacts and explodes.

    video 1: http://viewpure.com/On0RAXuZ1Ks?start=0&end=0
    video 2: http://viewpure.com/DaHT89K_Fls?start=0&end=0


    US Misused Afghanistan as Testing Ground for Dangerous Weapons: Hamid Karzai

    4/14/2017

    Former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai said that US has misused Afghanistan as a testing ground for new and dangerous weapons.

    He has condemned the dropping of Non-Nuclear bomb by US in Afghanistan.


    Last evening US dropped the ‘mother of all bombs’, one of the largest non-nuclear devices ever unleashed in combat in Afghanistan in Nanghar area.

    http://nation.com.pk/international/1...s-hamid-karzai



    CAGE accuses US of using Afghanistan as "testing ground" for new weaponry

    14th April 2017

    The dropping of the largest non-nuclear weapon on Afghanistan by the United States is evidence that the Trump administration is using Afghanistan as a live human experimental field for its weaponry, according to advocacy group CAGE.

    The bomb, which has a mile-long radius and is capable of massive devastation including obliteration, crushed internal organs, bleeding ears and loss of hearing, massive shockwaves, and huge environmental and infrastructure damage, was dropped on the orders of Army Gen. John Nicholson on Thursday.

    Moazzam Begg, CAGE outreach director, said: "This is not the first time the US has dropped the closest conventional bomb to nuclear weapons. I witnessed US planes drop 15,000 lbs 'daisy cutter' bombs in Afghanistan in 2001. It was mass killing mastered to an American art.

    "This bombing was ordered by an army general who did not need direct authorisation from the executive. With Trump also signing off responsibility for drone strikes to the CIA and reducing the necessary checks to prevent civilian casualties, the United States is now openly bombing with no public oversight, a new level of arrogance as a military state. More of this will not bring peace.

    "We do not trust United States assurances that they have minimised civilian casualties. Already the US coalition has killed nearly 2000 civilians in Iraq and Syria. Such actions do nothing to win support and rather will perpetuate a cycle of violence that has now lasted 16 years and killed over 220,000 Afghans."

    Meanwhile, the top US military commander in Afghanistan has said the decision to use the bomb in the country was based purely on tactical considerations.

    Gen John Nicholson said the most powerful non-nuclear bomb ever used by the US in combat had been the right weapon to target a suspected ISIS base in Nangarhar province. A 300m long network of tunnels and caves was destroyed, he said.

    About 36 suspected ISIS fighters were killed, according to Afghan officials, but ISIS has denied suffering any casualties.

    Known as the "mother of all bombs", or MOAB, the device was dropped on Thursday evening by an MC-130 transport plane, falling in Nangarhar's Achin district. Chief Executive of Afghanistan Abdullah Abdullah said the attack had been carried out in co-ordination with his government and "great care had been taken to avoid civilian harm."

    "The enemy had created bunkers, tunnels and extensive mine fields, and this weapon was used to reduce those obstacles so that we could continue our offensive in southern Nangarhar," said Gen Nicholson. US and Afghan forces at the site saw "no evidence of civilian casualties", he added. US President Donald Trump called the strike "another successful job."

    http://5pillarsuk.com/2017/04/14/cag...-new-weaponry/

    comments:

    There were casualties, over 100 casualties are being reported by the media in the East. Then there is structural damage as far away as Pakistan's towns on the border getting hospitals, buildings, and schools damaged by the shockwave.

    Not just the USA, not just this once, but other western countries also have been testing their new bombs on Muslim countries for decades, and now even Russia is at in Syria.
    Last edited by islamirama; Jul-2-2017 at 02:14 PM.

  7. #7
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    Afghanistan Sits on $1 Trillion in Minerals

    Sep 5 2014

    clockwise from top, praseodymium, cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, samarium and gadolinium.

    Despite being one of the poorest nations in the world, Afghanistan may be sitting on one of the richest troves of minerals in the world, valued at nearly $1 trillion, scientists say.

    Afghanistan, a country nearly the size of Texas, is loaded with minerals deposited by the violent collision of the Indian subcontinent with Asia. The U.S. Geological Survey began inspecting what mineral resources Afghanistan had after U.S.-led forces drove the Taliban from power in the country in 2004.

    In 2006, U.S. researchers flew airborne missions to conduct magnetic, gravity and hyperspectral surveys over Afghanistan. [Infographic: Facts About Rare Earth Minerals]

    The aerial surveys determined that Afghanistan may hold 60 million tons of copper, 2.2 billion tons of iron ore, 1.4 million tons of rare earth elements such as lanthanum, cerium and neodymium, and lodes of aluminum, gold, silver, zinc, mercury and lithium. For instance, the Khanneshin carbonatite deposit in Afghanistan's Helmand province is valued at $89 billion, full as it is with rare earth elements.

    "Afghanistan is a country that is very, very rich in mineral resources," geologist Jack Medlin, program manager of the USGS Afghanistan project, told LiveScience. The scientists' work was detailed in the Aug. 15 issue of the journal Science.

    In 2010, the USGS data attracted the attention of the U.S. Department of Defense's Task Force for Business and Stability Operations, which is entrusted with rebuilding Afghanistan. The task force valued Afghanistan's mineral resources at $908 billion, while the Afghan government's estimate is $3 trillion.

    Over the past four years, USGS and TFBSO have embarked on dozens of excursions to confirm the aerial findings, resulting in what are essentially treasure maps for mining companies.

    The Afghan government has already signed a 30-year, $3 billion contract with the China Metallurgical Group, a state-owned mining enterprise based in Beijing, to exploit the Mes Aynak copper deposit, and awarded mining rights for the country's biggest iron deposit to a group of Indian state-run and private companies.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/science/scien...nerals-n196861

    Afghanistan sitting on a gold mine

    The USGS estimates there are about 700 billion cubic metres of gas and 300 million tonnes of oil across several northern provinces.

    February 21, 2008


    Afghanistan is sitting on a wealth of mineral reserves -- perhaps the richest in the region
    -- that offer hope for a country mired in poverty after decades of war, the mining minister says.

    Significant deposits of copper, iron, gold, oil and gas, and coal -- as well as precious gems such as emeralds and rubies
    -- are largely untapped and still being mapped, Mohammad Ibrahim Adel told AFP.

    And they promise prosperity for one of the world's poorest countries, the minister said, dismissing concerns that a Taliban-led insurgency may thwart efforts to unearth this treasure.

    Already in the pipeline is the exploitation of a massive copper deposit -- one of the biggest in the world -- about 30 kilometres (20 miles) east of Kabul.

    "There has not been such a big project in the history of Afghanistan," Adel said.

    A 30-year lease for the Aynak copper mine was in November offered to the China Metallurgical Group Corporation and the contract is being finalised.

    "It is estimated that the Aynak deposit has more than 11 million tonnes (of copper)," he said, citing 1960s surveys by the Soviet Union and a new study by the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

    "With today's prices, it contains an 88-billion-dollar deposit," he said.

    The mine is expected to bring the government 400 million dollars annually in fees and taxes, Adel said.

    That is on top of an 800-million-dollar downpayment from the developer who has also committed to build a railway line, a power plant and a village for workers, complete with schools, clinics and roads.

    About 5,000 jobs will be created and mining is expected to start in five years. "Up to 40 percent of the income will pour into our pockets," Adel said.

    The colossal Aynak project represents, however, only a fraction of Afghanistan's unexploited resources, he said. The scale of the deposits is still being charted.

    The USGS is carrying out a nationwide survey of mineral wealth and oil and gas deposits that is expected to be completed in a year, Adel said.

    Studies of only 10 percent of the country have discovered abundant deposits of copper, iron, zinc, lead, gold, silver, gems, salt, marble and coal,
    the ministry says.

    The USGS estimates there are about 700 billion cubic metres of gas and 300 million tonnes of oil across several northern provinces.

    A Soviet survey estimated there are more than two billion tonnes of iron reserves, the ministry says.

    One of the best known iron deposits is at Haji Gak, 90 kilometres west of Kabul.


    "If everything goes as we desire, Haji Gak requires two to three billion dollars' investment," said the minister.

    "Another 100 million to 1.5 billion dollars is needed to explore the gas and oil mines."

    The government plans to offer more projects for private sector tender next year, Adel said.

    There is already some mining underway such as ad hoc emerald extraction in the Panjshir valley region northeast of Kabul, where dynamite is used to blow gems out of the ground.

    And the ministry has handed two coal mines to private Afghan companies, although they lack standard equipment.

    The Aynak contract will be a model for others, with developers expected to put in basic infrastructure as Afghanistan's power grid is weak and its transport network limited.

    There is also the challenge of the insurgency, which overshadows development and has made many areas off-limits to foreign companies.

    Writer and analyst Waheed Mujda warned there could be no mining in Taliban-held areas, which are mostly in the south, without the permission of the Islamic extremists.

    "Any kind of agreement with Taliban will have to involve money and that money obviously would finance the insurgency in part," Mujda told AFP.

    But Adel is not concerned. "We can provide security for mining sites simply by hiring a private security company," he said.

    Most of the deposits that have been discovered are in the relatively stable north. There are, however, uranium reserves in the southern province of Helmand, one of the worst for Taliban attacks, the minister said.

    The minister's sights are firmly set on mining bringing his impoverished country a brighter future.

    "In five years' time Afghanistan will not need the world's aid money," he said. "In 10 years Afghanistan will be the richest country in the region."

    http://www.rawa.org/temp/runews/2008...gold-mine.html


    Afghanistan is ranked as one of the world's most corrupt countries by Transparency International, a Berlin-based monitoring agency.
    - VOA, Feb.20, 2008

    The site for the mine at Aynak, 60 km southeast of Kabul contains the world's second-biggest unexploited copper deposit with the potential to generate revenue of $1.4 billion a year. Of greatest danger is the threat of toxic waste which has led to environmental damage around copper mines in several countries.
    - Reuters, Dec.12, 2007

    comments:

    Let's not forget the drugs. Their fight for GOD wouldn't be complete without it. Gold Oil Drugs


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    Massive Kabul Bombing Follows Reports of U.S. Plan to Escalate Afghanistan Involvement in Year 16

    A bomb hidden in a water truck has killed at least 80 people and injured more than 360 others in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Wednesday, reports say. At least seven American citizens are known to have been injured in the blast. Both the Taliban and ISIS operate in Afghanistan, but neither has of yet claimed responsibility for the attack.


    The bombing, Afghanistan's most deadly terror attack since July, took place between the embassies of Germany and Turkey in a heavily patrolled area of the capital.

    Top Trump administration officials reportedly recommended in early May that the United States send between 3,000 and 5,000 more troops to Afghanistan to supplement the 8,400 who are already there. The U.S. invaded Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001; by one count, 2,396 American service members have been killed in ensuing operations.

    National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, who has been described as the "driving force" behind the the recommendation to increase troop levels, once wrote a book that condemned the military leaders whose conduct created the U.S.'s tragic quagmire in Vietnam.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slate...b645b806a7020f

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    Trump Finds Reason for the U.S. to Remain in Afghanistan: Minerals

    By MARK LANDLER and JAMES RISEN

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    Trump Considers Prolonging Afghan War to Secure $1 Trillion in Untapped Mineral Deposits


    StoryAugust 03, 2017

    On Wednesday, two U.S. soldiers died in Afghanistan after a suicide car bomber rammed a NATO-led convoy near a major U.S. base in Kandahar. The attack came a day after at least 33 worshipers died when suicide bombers attacked a Shiite mosque in the city of Herat. The self-proclaimed Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack. The latest round of violence comes as The New York Times reports that Trump may have found a reason to prolong the nearly 16-year-old war: Afghanistan’s untapped mineral deposits, which could be worth nearly $1 trillion. Trump reportedly discussed Afghanistan’s vast deposits of minerals with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and is considering sending an envoy to Afghanistan to meet with mining officials. We speak with Jodi Vittori, senior policy adviser for Global Witness on Afghanistan policy. Jodi spent 20 years in the U.S. military, where she served in several countries, including Afghanistan. She has received numerous military awards, including two Bronze Stars. We also speak with Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare.

    Transcript

    This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

    AMY GOODMAN:
    We turn now to Afghanistan, the longest war in U.S. history. On Wednesday, two U.S. soldiers died after a suicide car bomber rammed a NATO-led convoy near a major U.S. military base in Kandahar. The attack came a day after at least 33 Afghan worshipers died when suicide bombers attacked a Shiite mosque in the city of Herat. The dead included the father of an Afghan teenage girl who made international headlines recently when she took part in a robotics competition in the United States. The self-proclaimed Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.


    Meanwhile, the U.S. is intensifying its air war in Afghanistan. During the month of June, the U.S. carried out 389 airstrikes—the highest monthly total in five years. Meanwhile, the Pentagon is seeking to send another 4,000 U.S. troops to join the 8,700 currently in Afghanistan.


    This comes as The New York Times reports Trump may have found a reason to prolong the nearly 16-year war: Afghanistan’s untapped mineral deposits, which could be worth nearly a trillion dollars. Trump is being pressured by a billionaire financier and a chemical executive to escalate the U.S. war in Afghanistan in a bid to exploit the country’s mineral wealth. The Times reports Trump discussed Afghanistan’s vast deposits of metals and rare earth metals with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and is reportedly considering sending an envoy to Afghanistan to meet with mining officials.


    We’re joined now by two guests. Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare, she has made many trips to Afghanistan, including one earlier this year, has twice been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Jodi Vittori is a senior policy adviser for Global Witness on Afghanistan policy. She’s joining us from Washington, D.C.


    Kathy Kelly, let’s begin with you. The casualties only continue to mount. Your response to what’s happening in Afghanistan right now?

    KATHY KELLY:
    Well, it seems that the United States has been exacerbating a war that seems unlikely to change, even if the United States sends 4,000 or many more than that number of troops over to Afghanistan. When they had 100,000 troops, they weren’t able to substantially change the direction, which now has the Afghan government in charge of 60 percent of the districts within Afghanistan, and the Taliban and other warlords in charge of 40 percent of the districts but also commandeering many of the roadways that lead into major cities.


    AMY GOODMAN:
    I wanted to turn to an interview, when Bill O’Reilly was still on Fox News. It’s an interview with President Trump, who said the U.S. should have taken Iraq’s oil. Even though he was opposed, he said, to the war in Iraq, once the U.S. was in there, it shouldn’t have left until it took Iraq’s oil, following the 2003 invasion.

    PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I always said take the oil. If you would have taken the oil, there would be no ISIS, because they used that to fuel their growth.
    BILL O’REILLY: But if you—if you took the oil, the Iraqi oil, you would have to put in U.S. troops to do that, and then that would have started another round of it.
    PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: And you would have made a lot of money with the oil, and you would have had assets. And to the victor belong the spoils and all of that. But forget that.
    AMY GOODMAN: So, that might be very instructive, Jodi Vittori—you’re a former military soldier—when looking at what President Trump’s intentions are for Afghanistan right now. The New York Times reporting Trump is being pressured by a billionaire financier and a chemical executive to escalate the U.S. war in Afghanistan in a bid to exploit Afghanistan’s mineral wealth. Can you explain what you found?


    JODI VITTORI:
    Sure. It’s a troubling parallel to the 2012 reports that you just noted out when it comes to Iraq and oil. In the case of Afghanistan, a report this morning that President Trump is deeply troubled that he—he acknowledges that the United States is not winning in Afghanistan. He doesn’t like the strategy that his generals have given him from his national security staff. And for some reason he has leaned towards this sort of vague plan put forward by the head of the private security company DynCorp, Stephen Feinberg, who was a major campaign contributor to the Trump campaign, that somehow the United States would come in, they would send—DynCorp would send in their private security forces, that would somehow control these mining areas, including areas with the mineral lithium in it, which is important for our cellphone batteries and so forth, and somehow extract that, secure it so that other companies could extract that, and—it’s unclear—apparently, take that money to pay back the United States for the invasion of Afghanistan. Obviously, troubling on a conflict of interest level, an ethics level, a human rights, social level. And, frankly, it’s just completely impractical, as well.


    AMY GOODMAN:
    Kathy Kelly, when you hear this and read this piece in the Times about exploiting Afghanistan for its mineral wealth, and hearing the previous comment about President Trump, even if he says he was supposed to the war in Iraq, "Once you’re there, take their oil," your thoughts?


    JODI VITTORI:
    Obviously—


    KATHY KELLY:
    I think it’s repugnant.


    AMY GOODMAN:
    Let’s get Kathy Kelly’s response and then yours, Jodi.


    KATHY KELLY:
    Well, that it’s repugnant for the United States to believe that we somehow should be able to subordinate the rights and the hopes and the possibilities for another country to serve our national interest. We have no right whatsoever to take over resources in Afghanistan. And we’ve already caused so much death and destruction. We should be paying reparations for that.


    AMY GOODMAN: And, Jodi Vittori, can you talk about the mineral industry and who’s currently benefiting from it in Afghanistan, in the midst of this longest war in U. S. history?


    JODI VITTORI: Certainly. In 2010, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated that Afghanistan, at the time, had up to $1 trillion in minerals in reserve under the ground there. Not all of that would be able to be pulled out economically, and that was at a time when these mineral prices were at their high point. That estimate is certainly not accurate now. Afghanistan is awash in minerals. Just its geography is incredible when it comes to minerals, and possibly natural gas, as well.


    But right now, those who are benefiting seem to be primarily groups like the Taliban and groups like the various warlords and corrupt politicians in the country. What we don’t see is the Afghan people normally getting a benefit from this mining. There is actually a tremendous amount of mining in Afghanistan. The German development agency GIZ estimates that about 3 to 6 percent of the population is involved in mining or its upstream or downstream activities. And yet, at the same time, a lot of that is really going into the hands of nefarious characters. The United Nations has estimated that, after narcotics trafficking, the second-largest source of revenue for the Taliban is illegal mining and coring in Afghanistan. And Global Witness has done reports, for example, on the role that lapis plays, both in the hands of illegal armed groups, various corrupt officials in patronage networks and the Taliban itself. So, it’s very, very troubling in the country.


    AMY GOODMAN: This is Part 1 of our discussion. We’ll post the rest at democracynow. org. Jodi Vittori, thanks for joining us, from Global Witness on Afghanistan policy, formerly served in South Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq and other places. And, Kathy Kelly, thanks for joining us, as well.

    https://www.democracynow.org/2017/8/..._afghan_war_to



    ------------------

    Will the U.S. War in Afghanistan Ever End? A Discussion with Kathy Kelly & Jodi Vittori

    https://www.democracynow.org/2017/8/...in_afghanistan

  11. #11
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    Trump White House weighs unprecedented plan to privatize much of the war in Afghanistan

    Aug. 8, 2017

    The White House is actively considering a bold plan to turn over a big chunk of the U.S. war in Afghanistan to private contractors in an effort to turn the tide in a stalemated war, according to the former head of a security firm pushing the project.


    Under the proposal, 5,500 private contractors, primarily former Special Operations troops, would advise Afghan combat forces. The plan also includes a 90-plane private air force that would provide air support in the nearly 16-year-old war against Taliban insurgents, Erik Prince, founder of the Blackwater security firm, told USA TODAY.


    The unprecedented proposal comes as the U.S.-backed Afghan military faces a stalemate in the war and growing frustration by President Trump about the lack of progress in the war.


    The U.S. military has 8,400 U.S. troops there to train and guide local forces. They do not have a direct combat role, and presumably would be replaced gradually by the contractors.


    The plan remains under serious consideration within the White House despite misgivings by Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, an Army three-star general, and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Other White House officials, such as chief strategist Stephen Bannon, appear open to using private contractors.


    “At what point do you say a conventional military approach in Afghanistan is not working,” said Prince, a former Navy SEAL. “Maybe we say that at 16 years.”


    Blackwater, founded 1997, worked extensively in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Prince sold the company in 2010.


    The White House did not respond to requests for comment.


    Prince said the plan will cost less than $10 billion a year, significantly lower than the more than $40 billion the Pentagon has budgeted this year.


    The prospect of accomplishing more with less money could appeal to a career businessman like Trump.


    Prince, who has met frequently with administration officials to discuss his plan, is the brother of Trump's education secretary, Betsy Devos.


    Under his proposal, private advisers would work directly with Afghanistan combat battalions throughout the country, and the air force would be used for medical evacuation, fire support and ferrying troops.


    Prince said the contractors would be “adjuncts” of the Afghan military and would wear that nation’s military uniforms. Pilots would only drop ordnance with Afghan government approval, he said.


    Currently, troops from a U.S.-led coalition are stationed primarily at top level headquarters and are not embedded with conventional combat units in the field. Under the plan the contractors would be embedded with Afghanistan's more than 90 combat battalions throughout the country.


    The coalition sharply curtailed air support it provides Afghanistan forces by 2014, when government forces took over most war-fighting responsibilities, leaving major gaps in the Afghan military's ability to provide air support.


    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson acknowledged this week that the White House is looking for a new strategy to bring America's longest war to an end.


    “To just say we’re going to keep doing what we’ve been doing, the president is not willing to accept that, and so he is asking some tough questions,” Tillerson said Monday in Manila during an Asia trip.


    U.S. troops invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 to oust a government run by Taliban extremists who provided safe haven to al-Qaeda terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks.


    The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson, has recommended that several thousand more troops be deployed to Afghanistan, primarily to bolster the advisory mission and help turn the tide against the Taliban.


    Mattis has indicated he doesn’t want to make a decision on troop levels until an overall strategy has been approved. But the way forward is still under debate at the White House.


    “The president doesn’t own the Afghan effort yet,” Prince said of a war that frustrated Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. “He’s about to (with) whatever decision he makes next.”


    Prince rejects criticism that he and others would profit from it. He said it would represent a cost savings for American taxpayers. “The idea of innovation and risk taking is certainly part of America,” he said.


    Blackwater has attracted controversy under Prince's leadership. In 2007, four Blackwater security personnel were accused of killing 14 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad. Last week an appeals court overturned a murder conviction for one of the guards and ordered the other three to be re-sentenced.


    Blackwater was renamed Xe Services two years after the incident that sparked international outrage. The privately owned company is now Academi.


    Tens of thousands of contractors were used in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Blackwater was hired to protect American diplomats in Iraq, while other contractors were used in support functions, such as providing food and supplies to U.S. troops. The U.S. military rarely deploys anywhere now without a contingent of contractors.


    A close parallel to Prince's proposal in U.S. history may be the Flying Tigers, a group formed before the United States entered World War II. The Flying Tigers were formed covertly from the ranks of U.S. military pilots, who resigned from the service and were hired by a private contractor and sent to China to defend against Japanese aggression.

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/...ize/548004001/


 

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