The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe. . . .
While it could take many years to develop a mining industry, the potential is so great that officials and executives in the industry believe it could attract heavy investment even before mines are profitable, providing the possibility of jobs that could distract from generations of war.
“There is stunning potential here,” Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, said in an interview on Saturday. “There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant.”
Ok, so that's interesting, but why are we seeing what looks like a well-organized presentation about this from the Pentagon, involving several different officials? I suppose the generous interpretation would be that they hope news of possible great wealth will distract Afghans from trying to kill each other. But it looks to me like an attempt to drum up more American support for the war by convincing people that Afghanistan is not just a godforsaken mountain hellhole, but might one day be essential to our economy. The whole business smells very bad.