Politco - The Pentagon is highlighting a new U.S. Geological Survey estimate that Afghanistan may be sitting on a trillion dollars’ worth of mineral wealth, the New York Times reports.
“An internal Pentagon memo … states that Afghanistan could become the ‘Saudi Arabia of lithium,’ a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys,” the paper reports.
The paper goes on to quote Centcom commander Gen. David Petraeus: “There is stunning potential here. There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant.”
But veteran Afghan hands say the “discovery” of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth is hardly new. And some detect an echo of Petraeus’ effort to “put a little more time on the Washington clock” for the Afghanistan surge as he once described his public relations strategy to buy time in the U.S. for the Iraq surge. The Times report itself notes the Pentagon agreed to discuss the minerals discovery as a rare good news story amid many more disturbing reports coming from Afghanistan. Read more.